Morocco’s Spectacular Rose Festival
Amongst the mystery and beauty of the Moroccan landscapes lies magnificent natural wonders and crops that are vital to the community. Most crops and seasons are celebrated in Morocco, however, it is difficult to establish an exact date for these events, as it depends on the harvest and many other nature related factors. The Rose Festival is a magical event that usually takes place at the beginning of May every year and has become a favorite attraction and festival for tourists to attend.
The Dades Valley in Morocco is also known as the Valley of the Roses, as it is here where the fragrant rose oil and rose water is produced for the country, and the landscapes are a sea of pink Persian roses. Their beauty and subtle aromas fill the air, and to farmers in the area, harvesting the petals of these delicate, yet perfect, crops is done with love and not seen as hard labor. To celebrate the wealth and success of the harvest, the Dades Valley hosts the annual Rose Festival.
El Kelaa M’Gouna is the only settlement in the area, and is home to the two massive rose water factories of the region. Rose water is quite an expensive commodity in Morocco and is used not only for its fragrance but in traditional cooking as well. The reason for its price tag is because of the fact that the four thousand two hundred kilometers of rose hedges can only produce one thousand four hundred liters of the product. The process uses approximately three thousand kilograms of rose petals to extract a liter of rose oil. Visitors to the festival will therefore see tons of rose petals being transported to the factories to extract the precious oils, leaving a trail of rose scent lingering in the air.
A massive market, known as a souk, is opened in the town of El Kelaa M’Gouna where tourists will find various fascinating items being sold, and musicians and dancers livening up the festival spirit. During the festival, a Rose Queen is crowned, who will reign over the successful harvest of fragrance. It is an attraction that is a unique experience, and with such a large supply of roses, it is no wonder that this region is said to be the best smelling destination in Morocco.