REGIONAL / FOLKLORE FESTIVALS
These festivals are not really connected with Moussems because they are joyful events with no religious associations. Each region holds a festival to celebrate the basic source of its wealth for the benefit of numerous visitors both from Morocco and abroad. Traditions have established the program of these local festivals. Everyone must conform to custom in order to be accepted by a society that is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage.
ALMOND BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Tafraout / 2nd week in February
The Tafraout valley, where almond-trees reign supreme, is enchanting to the eye at blossom time ranging in color from immaculate where to blushing pink, the blooms do not last long so that their brief existence is all the more attractive, drawing many visitors to see the spectacle on special excursions.
WAX LANTERN FESTIVAL
Sale / Eve of Mouloud
The white town of sale, twin sister of rabat on the Bouregreg estuary, has preserved intact one of Morocco's most picturesque traditions; the wax lantern procession or "mawkib esh shomouaa". The procession is said to date back to the barbary period in sale when the corsairs carried wax lanterns in procession to the Sanctuary of Sidi Abdallah Ben Hassoun, the town's patron, to implore his protection before a long voyage. It has become a beautiful and entertaining event.
Kelaa of m 'Mouna / mid-May (Ourzazate Province)
In this grandiose setting, the day is marked by numerous events like folk-dancing and singing, handicraft Exhibitions, "diffa" banquets under tents, flower decked floats, the election of miss rose, camel-rides and a Splendid excursion by bus from Ourzazate down the valley of the roses.
Sefrou / June (Fez Province)
A three-day festival of entertainment. Numerous sporting competitions, a fantasia, a torch-light procession, fairground, and finally the election of miss cherry with a parade by her cortege.
Rafai / mid-December (Fez Province)
A very pretty festival where one can see the traditional olive-picking ceremony, numerous diffa feasts and
folklore events, in a surprisingly vast area of olive groves.
Imouzer of Ida ou Tanane - Agadir province / early May
Argana is said to be the largest collective beehive in the world, and also one of the most curious because of Its construction, history and the way it is run. Most of the hives are made of split reed cylinders covered with clay. With the aid of a smoking brazier made of baked earth, the bees and their queen are made to crawl out of the hive into a basket so that the honey can be classified as a historic monument.
FESTIVAL OF FIANCES
(4th week in September) / Imilchil Moussem
Imilchil is a small high atlas village at an altitude of 8,530 feet. For the young men and girls of the area, it is a tradition to get married on the day of the Moussem in ancient times, a holyman used to bless the betrothed at Agdoul, and legend says they were always happy.
The fiance' festival is staged on the site of the tomb of the Oldman, who is venerated in the high atlas. It is a time for some 30,000 people from the mountains to assemble under tents for three days with their flocks, their horses and camels. It is an occasion for the young girls to wear their finery, their sumptuous silver jewelry, and to dance for hours under the sun and under the stars.
Erfoud / early October
The magnificent festival is held annually in the Erfoud area where nearly a million date-palms grow there is a wide range of types of dates grown the majestic palm-tree with fronds waving lazily in the warm breeze provide shade and a livelihood, the peasants who cultivate them relying on them for almost everything.
Tissa / October (Fez Province)
The picturesque center of tissa located a few miles off the main road no 302 in the Fez Province, is the site of a gigantic competition between the various horse breeds, every year in October, hundreds of riders assemble wearing their finery to present their mounts. Prize-giving and festivities create a very animated scene.
A 'festival of fantasia ' has been held every year (usually at the beginning of September) since 1977 in Meknes. It offers thousands of horsemen and their mounts the chance to meet and display their skill and the occasion has earned it self a well-deserved success.
A tourism month or fortnight is organized annually by the ministry of tourism in collaboration with the Local authorities, and syndicates d 'initiative, and compromises numerous recreational sporting and cultural activities. Usually held in the summer period, these events enable visitors to join the local population in various kinds of entertainment in order to promote the social and cultural exchanges which are the ultimate aim of tourist activity. The main activities in which visitors may take part are:
Election of "miss tourism" in the best hotel in town.
- Fashion parade
- Sporting events:
- Majorette parades
- Guided tours
- Continuous folklore shows
- Lecture and various exhibitions.