The common questions most travelers ask is what festivals in Morocco are celebrated? And, when? planning where to go in Morocco, particularly if this is your first visit! Can be difficult, for those with limited time, choosing from the country’s amazing list of attractions, from imperial cities to deep desert to 10,000-foot Mountains, may prove daunting. However, one of the many festivals and moussems that take place between May and September may be just what you need to point your compass at a particular destination. The energy, passion and joy of living in the festivals we list below is exceptional. Moroccan festivals are like Moroccan daily life on overdrive: endless stimuli for your senses and help you to choose the best time to visit morocco. Come prepared and enjoy them.
Imilchil Marriage “Wedding” Festival (September) authentic festival in Morocco
More than 25,000 people from the High Atlas Mountain gather at one of the most emblematic Berber events. During which young women of the Aït-Haddidou tribe engage in a boastful display of beauty and grace in their search for a husband. At an altitude of 2,600 metres, the vast plateau around Imilchil teems with life and tradition in a meeting which, however touristy it may have become, still enthralls locals and visitors alike.
Almond Blossom Festival – Tafraout 2nd Week in Febraury
The Tafraout Valley, where almond-trees reign supremely, is enchanting to the eye at blossom time. Ranging from immaculate to blushing pink, the blooms do not last a very long life. This brief existence makes them even more attractive, drawing more and more visitors to face this spectacle.
Tan-Tan Moussem – Sheikh Sidi Mohammed Ma El Ainin’s moussem (end-May-early June)
Tribes and nomads from the Moroccan Sahara and beyond gather in Tan-Tan in remembrance of holy man Sidi Mohammed Ma El Ainin. Touaregs, camel caravans, nomads’ tents on the dunes: this event is as fascinating and exotic festivals in Morocco. The festival has undergone a revival thanks to the support of UNESCO.
Essaouira G’naoua & World Music Festival (June)
Marrakech Festival of Popular Arts (June)
A showcase for the cultural microcosm that is Morocco. There are over 250 tribal groups in Morocco and many of them are represented at this celebration of Morocco’s cultural diversity, including G’naoua, Arab & Amazigh dance & music groups from all corners of the country, from the Rif to the Sahara.
Fête des Roses, El Kelâa M’Gouna (May) highy recommended festival in Morocco
An explosion of color in the town of El Kelâa des M’Gouna, in the Dades Valley, celebrating the rose harvest – rosewater is the area’s main product.
There are traditional dances by men and women wearing the most beautiful costumes and an array of arts and crafts for sale. This has to be one of the most joyous and idiosyncratic events in the country.
Fez Sacred Music Festival (end-May-early June)
From Sufi music to Christian Gospels: Fez festival is your chance to discover an extraordinary variety of entrancing religious music from all over the world.
Moussem Moulay Abdellah – El Jadida (August)
If you want to see the most spectacular fantasias (traditional, cavalry charges) festival in Morocco, this is the place to go. The Atlantic beaches of El Jadida are the perfect setting for these daring displays.
The Marrakech Film Festival September
Having just wrapped its fifth year, the festival still lacks a solid identity. For one thing, it still hasn’t settled on a date. It began in September 2001, each year it has hop scotched across the fall calendar, settling this year in November, just after Ramadan. But more importantly, it still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up.
And yet it seems to want to be all things at once. Marrakech longs to generate the hype and glamour of Cannes, to support emerging talent like Sundance, to be taken as seriously by Hollywood as Toronto and to provide as unique and intriguing a setting as Venice.
The involvement of the Tribeca Institute provides a stamp of legitimacy through its Directors Table workshops, bringing young filmmakers together with venerable directors like Martin Scorsese and Abbas Kiarostami for a once in a lifetime opportunity to exchange ideas in this intimate setting.
Moussem de Meknès – Moussem de Moulay Idriss Zerhoun (September)
In the region near Meknes, about 15 Kms there is Moulay Idriss Zerhoun where Folklore and religious fervour in remembrance of the founder of the Idrissid dynasty take place every year in September. This festival doesn’t enjoy the same international publicity as events in Essaouira or Fez but it is undoubtedly the most significant religious gathering in the country. Fantasias, music, arts and crafts complement this highly recommended festival in Morocco.
Agadir Festival of Popular Music (September)
The strong emphasis on Morocco’s oral tradition makes this an exceptional festival. Griots from the far south, poet-musicians of the Souss and Anti-Atlas, G’naoua singers: here is a chance to learn about some of the less-well-known Moroccan music.