Since Morocco is an all-year-round destination, some may find it tough to decide when to visit. One option is to organize your vacation around one of the many yearly festivals and events held around the nation. In fact, Annual Events in Morocco range from Berber tribal customs to electronic music festivals and cutting-edge modern art shows.
Morocco is brimming with surprises, and Moroccans are always celebrating something because of their country’s cultural richness and intricate history. For the visitors of Morocco, some commemorate Morocco’s rich creative culture, while others are influenced by the agricultural calendar, and yet others are religious festivals that give an honest glimpse into the lives and beliefs of ordinary Moroccans.
That is why, this article examines a lot of the Annual Events in Morocco, ranging from the world-famous endurance challenge Marathon des Sables to cultural festivals in Fes and Marrakesh. While you’re planning your next vacation to this diverse country, be sure to check out the events listed below!
Entertainment Annual Events in Morocco
Music Festivals in Morocco
Fes’ Festival of World Sacred Music
The Fes’ Festival of World Sacred Music occurs on the 2nd to 3rd weeks of June and lasts nine days and features a spectacular lineup of open-air events. You never know what you’ll witness, from Iranian whirling dervishes to mystics, Sufi chanters, and international dancers.
The exquisite Jnan Sbil Gardens and Bab al Makina, the parade ground in front of the Royal Palace, are among the venues. In between acts, stop by the festival’s street booths to experience genuine cuisine and drinks of the Imperial city of Fes.
The festival honors Sufi spirituality and music by bringing together Sufi religious leaders and artists from across the world to display their poetry, films, music, dance, and artworks. Scholars convene here as well to debate significant Sufi topics such as human rights, cultural diversity, and world peace.
Essaouira’s Gnaoua and World Music Festival
The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival starts in June and comprises performers from all over the world, but it is primarily a celebration of Gnaoua, a distinct genre inspired by Berber, African, and Arabic music, dance, and religious ceremonies. This one of the Annual Events in Morocco is an excellent place to learn about Morocco’s varied heritage.
The event first took place in 1997. Visitors are treated to four days of events and music staged at up to ten distinct open-air locations scattered across Essaouira’s medieval medina, one of Morocco’s most beautiful coastal cities.
The celebration lasts for 4 days and honors the Gnaoua people and their ancestral contribution to the world. Over 500,000 people visit the festival to see dance and musical acts as well as interact with the artists in more intimate performances and open dialogues.
Mawazine (Rhythms of the World)
Mawazine (Rhythms of the World) is held in Rabat in June. The festival takes over Morocco’s capital for eight days to feature some of the world’s most prominent musicians, with previous headliners including Travis Scott, Maroon 5, Rihanna, and Whitney Houston. Moroccan musicians are increasingly being highlighted, with the festival serving as a platform for their big break.
Morocco’s coastal villages come alive with a variety of unique festivities when the summer heat sets in. The Timitar Music Festival, held in Agadir in July, is one of the most well-known. This one of the Annual Events in Morocco is widely regarded as one of the top African music festivals, with over 40 performers from all over the world performing to promote Amazigh culture.
This event in Marrakech is the first on the African continent to set such a high standard. It features the very best in house, disco, and electro music. You may enjoy a lovely panorama while dancing to energetic music while facing the Atlas Mountains. The roster includes worldwide artists and well-known DJs from across the world, as well as from Morocco’s rising music industry. Every September, it lasts three days.
This one of the Annual Events in Morocco, held in Casablanca in April, features various jazz-fusion acts. Moroccan and international jazz singers perform there. Aside from the performances, the public may take part in jazz initiation workshops, meetings with musicians (reserved for VIP visitors), spontaneous musical sessions, and street musical parades. There are after-parties at the end of the concerts, which sometimes run until late at night.
Film Festivals in Morocco
Marrakesh International Film Festival
The Marrakesh International Film Festival, held in the middle of December, attempts to commemorate the finest of Moroccan cinema by presenting awards in a range of categories. It was founded in 2001 by King Mohammed VI with the goal of promoting and developing Morocco’s art and cinema industries. During the week-long event, movie screenings begin as early as 11 a.m. at Jemaa el Fna plaza.
Comedy Festivals in Morocco
Marrakech du Rire
Those searching for a good chuckle in the Annual Events in Morocco might go to Marrakech du Rire, a 5-day international comedy festival held in Marrakech in June. The city’s kings and queens of comedy, as well as emerging comedians searching for their big break, put on their greatest shows for you across a variety of venues. It’s worth mentioning that most performances are in French and/or Arabic.
Arts & Culture Annual Events in Morocco
The Amazigh New Year
Throughout the first month of the year, all eyes are on Morocco’s New Year celebrations, which take place at two distinct times. The first occurs on January 1st. The second New Year’s Eve event, however, takes place a few weeks later on January 12th and 13th. This is when Morocco’s traditional Berber population celebrates Yennayer, the Amazigh New Year, which marks the start of the harvest year.
On the Amazigh New Year, communities around Morocco, including Agadir and Tiznit, have commemorative ceremonies. The most traditional Morocco festivities, however, take place in the central Atlas Mountains, when Berber communities sing, dance, and make couscous in the hopes of a fruitful agricultural year.
Almond Blossom Festival
Tafraoute’s Almond Blossom Festival takes center stage in February of each year. Tafraoute, Morocco’s almond-producing hub, has always staged an annual local agricultural festival to promote almond goods and commemorate the year’s harvest.
The festival’s expanding popularity, however, forced it to relocate from Tafraoute to Valle Dei Tempi, where it now takes place. This one of the many Annual Events in Morocco evolved from a basic harvest festival to a local folklore celebration incorporating traditional Berber music, dancing, and drama as a result of this change. Market booths fill the streets among the valley’s old Roman ruins, and stage shows fight for your attention with the flowering almond trees.
Kalaat Mgouna Rose Festival
The Festival of Roses is one of Morocco’s most beautiful events, marking the season’s rose harvest. It takes place around 50 miles north of Ouarzazate in El Kelaa M’Gouna. Morocco provides the majority of its rose water, which is a mainstay in Middle Eastern cookery.
Because of its fragrant rose fields, Morocco’s Dades Valley is also known as the Valley of the Roses. Every May, the harvest is celebrated at Kalaat Mgouna, an oasis town with a major rose water distilling factory. The three-day celebration, which begins on Friday and draws roughly 20,000 people, features rose parades and shops offering a variety of rose goods.
Traditional singing and dance, as well as the renowned Miss Roses beauty competition, provide entertainment. Delicious food vendors, Berber artists, and even a procession of floats can be seen in the small lanes of El Kelaa M’Gouna’s souk.
The International Nomads Festival
The International Nomads Festival, held in April the little village of M’Hamid El Ghizlane (60 kilometers south of Zagora), is a free open-air festival that celebrates all aspects of nomadic culture. It encourages local, national, and worldwide artists to display their work in poetry, music, dance, storytelling, and handicrafts.
Conferences and workshops are also held to examine concerns concerning the nomadic lifestyle, agriculture, environmental preservation, education, and other topics. Traditional meals are also produced here, and traditional sports can be practiced. However, the main event takes place at a specific set-up nomadic camp around 20 kilometers from M’Hamid.
If you wish to attend the International Nomads Festival, make sure to plan ahead of time for proper transportation because the roads are in poor condition.
The Honey Festival of Immouzer
In July/August, the honey festival allows all experts to exchange ideas and so improve their beekeeping techniques. The fact that this precious gem feeds many families and creates substantial revenue for the region is a highlight.
You may take part in nectar tastings with professionals and choose the best. Producers are compensated for the high quality of their products. Complex and challenging professions, yet so vital.
You will learn everything there is to know about this unique substance, which has been a potent antibacterial since antiquity, thanks to demonstrations on honey production and queen bee rearing.
Don’t miss the residents’ common apiary in the clay walls, where honey is gathered and distributed in huts. Also, make the most of your journey by admiring the flat orchards of olive, almond, and argan trees. Even though the water only runs in the winter, this hilly location offers spectacular rock and waterfall panoramas.
The Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival
The Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival draws performers and artists from Europe and beyond in July. Along with musicians and dancers, there will be fortune tellers, performing troupes, snake charmers, and fire swallowers. Djemma el Fna and the remnants of the 16th-century El Badi Palace host the main events. Don’t miss the Fantasia, an after-dark extravaganza with hundreds of charging horsemen dressed in medieval garb held outside the city walls in this one of the Annual Events in Morocco.
The Tantan Moussem
The Tantan Moussem has been on the market since 1963 and has been neglected for some time. This is a significant traditional Moroccan celebration. It has, however, been given new life, since it is now commemorated every September in Tantan. It has even been classified as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO.
During these few days of festivity, the Sahara’s numerous nomadic groups come together to celebrate Beidane culture. This procedure includes a number of events, displays, and performances. There will be camel racing, carnival, and traditional dance performances.
The Marathon des Sables
The Marathon des Sables (The Sand Marathon) is one of the country’s most distinctive Annual Events in Morocco (but not as much of a Moroccan festival as the others), taking place every year in April over a 10-day period. This one-of-a-kind marathon takes place in the Sahara Desert and is regarded as the hardest footrace on the planet, stretching 251 km (156 mi) over six days. If you’re searching for a challenge, look no further! However, because applications fill up rapidly, make sure to sign up well in advance.
The International Cultural Festival (Asilah Arts Festival)
The International Cultural Festival brings hundreds of thousands of people to the ordinarily sleepy beach village of Assilah in June. Artists come here to exhibit their art and paint murals on the historic walls of the Medina in this one of the Annual Events in Morocco. The show’s main attraction, however, is a three-day horse festival that includes a Moroccan fantasia (a traditional exhibition of horsemanship).
Imilchil Marriage Festival
Every year in early autumn, people of the Atlas Mountains’ Berber communities assemble in the small village of Imilchil to commemorate the legend of two star-crossed lovers who killed themselves when their parents opposed their marriage. The Imilchil Marriage Festival permits young men and women to pick their own husbands, and many couples marry there (although the marriage takes place later). The celebration includes singing, dancing, and feasting.
Erfoud Date Festival
The Erfoud Date Festival celebrated over three days in early October, commemorates the harvest of over a million date palms in the Erfoud area. Celebrations after the harvest feature folk songs, dancing, and colorful processions. Another highlight of this one of the Annual Events in Morocco is the coronation of the Date Queen, as well as the high-octane dromedary racing. Come to enjoy the festive atmosphere, discover more about Berber culture, and indulge in date-inspired local food in this one of the pay Morocco a visit, and make sure to book your tickets early to attend one of these Annual Events in Morocco.
Read also: Summer Festivals in Morocco
Throughout the year, Morocco’s cities host a variety of festivals and cultural events. Some of these festivals have an international touch, but a lot of them are reflecting of the Moroccan culture. So, go ahead! Pay Morocco a visit and make sure to book your tickets early to attend one of these Annual Events in Morocco.