Morocco has no shortage of festivals and tourists throughout the year are bound to stumble upon one street party or another. Some have a spiritual foundation, like the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, but most are simply a celebration of people, art and culture. A prime example is the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival which highlights the country’s most unlikely performances.
Marathon des Sables
Held every year in April, the Marathon des Sables (Sand Marathon) is an extremely challenging race which takes place in the harsh Moroccan Desert. More than 600 competitors from around the world engage in this six-day test of endurance and will. More than just physical fitness, the marathon is also a test of survival skills as all competitors are required to carry their own equipment and make their own meals.
The Rose Festival
A treat for the senses, the Rose Festival is a gorgeous and aromatic event which is held every year in Kalaa de Mgouna in May. Home to the largest rose water distillery in the country, every year around harvest time the town celebrates with dance and music.
The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
An event that takes place annually in June, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music brings together the most well-known spiritual dances and songs. From whirling dervishes to chanters and mystics, it’s an intriguing look into culture and customs.
Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival
June is the month to celebrate music in Morocco as another extravaganza is held in Essaouira. This festival revels in the traditions of Gnawa — a fascinating mixture of African rhythms and acrobatics, which are open to the public.
The Marrakech Popular Arts Festival
This national festival showcases the best of Morocco’s alternative arts. From folk singers and fortune tellers to snake charmers, fire swallowers and acting troupes, most of the events take place in Djemma el Fna, the main town square in Marrakech. There are several other venues all over the city.
The Imichil Marriage Festival
Held every year in August this Berber marriage festival marks the nuptials of up to forty couples. The Middle High Atlas Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for this mass love fest. Once the wedding ceremonies are over, the real fun begins when the Berber people celebrate with traditional songs and dance.
The Erfoud Date Festival
Every year in October, the Erfoud region harvests its dates and throws a large party in celebration. The three-day event is filled with traditional dances, local food and folk music.