Celebrations in Morocco – Festivals and Holidays
Know where to be and when to be there! A guide to some of the cultural, historical and religious holidays and festivals throughout the year in Morocco.
Understanding Cultural and Religious Festivals
The inhabitants of Morocco celebrate numerous Muslim and national festivals through the year. The dates for most of their religious holidays are worked out on the lunar calendar and this makes it virtually impossible to predict when these dates will fall on the western calendar that most people in other parts of the world use. During the festivals, there can be fasting, dancing and feasting – all depending on the type of holiday being celebrated. The Muslim festivals are observed by all Islamic residents regardless of how long they last. This may not be that easy since, for example, Ramadan celebrations last an entire month and its observers have to fast for the period and abstain from sex, smoking and drink. Moussems (ammougars) are normally festivals held in honor of saints.
For the most part, the celebrations are a lot of fun and visiting during one of them can greatly enhance your trip to the country.
New Years Day – Western Celebration
Independence Celebration (1 of 5 during the year) Secular
Tafraoute – End of the winter rains.
Aid Al Adha / A’d el-Khebir – Commemoration of Abrahams sacrifice
March & April
Beni Mellal – Cotton harvest moussem
Fatih Mouharam – Islamic New Years
Ashura – Day of tithing
Aid el Arch – The coronation of King Mohammed VI
Moulay Bousselham – Moussem of Sidi Ahmed Ben Mansour
Berkane – Harvest moussem for clementines
El Kelia des Mgouna – Rose festival to celebrate the new crops
Labor Day – May 1
Id el Mouloud – Prophet Mohammed’s birthday
Ben Aissa Moussem – the largest of all moussems which includes amazing displays of fantasia, glass swallowing, etc.
Music Festival – Held in Fez. Musicians from all around the world join in this festival
Independence Day – A week long oceanside festival/party
Goulimine – traditionally a fair for camel traders
Tan Tan – Moussem of Sidi Mohammed Ma el Ainin. Guedra dance may be performed at this festival.
Gnaoua Festival – Music Festival
Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival – Traditional Moroccan folklore
Tetouan – Moussem of Moulay Abdessalem which is celebrated very religiously in great splendor and ceremony.
Sefrou – Festival of the cherry harvest
Al Hoceima – festival of the sea harvest
Celebration of the Throne – Parades and fireworks – 30 July
Asilah Arts Festival – Exposure for local artists
Celebration of the Young – August 21
Setti Fatma – Popular moussem held in the Ourika valley
Sefrou – Moussem of Sidi Lahcen el Youssi
El Jadida – Moussem of Moulay Abdallah. It features fantasias.
Tiznit – Moussem of Sidi Ahmed ou Moussa. This is principally a religious festival.
Immouzer du Kandar – a moussem for harvesting apples and pears.
Immouzer des Ida Outanane – a honey moussem which last about a week.
Chefchaouen – Moussem of Sidi Allal al Hadh.
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun – Moussem of Moulay Idriss, the patron saint of Fez, which is the biggest religious moussem.
Imilchil – a marriage festival in the Atlas mountains (see marriage customs)also a showcase for traditional costumes
The Date Festival – Held in Erfoud
Ramadan – month of fasting
Independence Day – Nov 18
Eid al Fitr – Endof Ramadan
Erfoud – a harvest festival
Rafsae – olive harvest festival
Hajj Day – Dec 31
For more information on Public Holiday’s in Morocco, click here .