juin 02, 2021

In Morocco, celebrations punctuate the year and particularly the religious ones, whose dates vary each year. They are set by the Hegira, a lunar calendar which has approximately ten days less than the Gregorian calendar.

The three major Muslim celebrations

The end of the Ramadan is celebrated with 4 or 5 days of festivities: it is the Eid el Seghir. During this period, the tradition dictates that people wear new clothes and offer presents to children. The faithful share a meal with their families, neighbors, friends and so on.
70 days later, one of the most important celebration of the hegira calendar takes place, that is to say, the Eid el Kebir, or “the sacrifice celebration”. It marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca and commemorates Abraham’s sacrifice. In the Quran, Abraham agreed to sacrifice his only son Ismael before being transformed into a sheep by the Archangel Gabriel: his sacrifice and its submission make him one of the first Muslims. After the collective prayer which takes place in the morning, the believers gather for the sacrifice: each family slaughter a sheep in three equal parts: one for the family, one for the neighbors and the last one for the poor.
The Mawlid celebrates the birth of the prophet Muhammed: in the course of the evening, Moroccan people gather with their families over a traditional meal. In Salé also takes place the moussem of church candles the day before. This procession which dates back to the 17th century is done to the rhythm of traditional Moroccan instruments, mainly percussions.

The moussems not to be missed

The moussems are regional celebrations, secular or religious and which celebrate the nature, the crops or a venerated character (like a saint, for instance). Big markets, fairs, street shows and other festivities are often organized on that occasion.

moroccan festivities moussem

One of the most famous is the engagement in Imilchil: it is said that in this region, the wedding of a young couple in love, coming from two rival Berber tribes did not take place because of their families. Out of grief, they started to cry and their tears gave rise to two lakes: the lakes Tislit and Isely. In front of such a proof of love, the two families agreed to the wedding and since, these tribes gather each year at the end of the harvests. Even if this moussem became quite touristy, it still allows the big Berber tribes to weave links, often with the aim of being engaged: many Berber women go there wearing a traditional outfit to find a husband.

Each year, around January and February takes place the almond trees moussem in Tafraout: dancers, musicians, storytellers gather during their blossoming to celebrate the premises of the arrival of Spring season. This moussem allows people to know about this ancestral culture, as well as revitalizing the region’s economy at the same time. The cultivation, harvesting and the treatment of almonds is a part of the country’s heritage.

Eventually, the Tan Tan moussem, designated in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage in 2008 gathers each year more than thirty Saharan nomad tribes and ensures the survival of their savoir-faire and traditions. Camel fairs, singing shows, dances, poetry contests and different games are organized and attract a lot of people each year: many celebrities largely known of the general public are invited each year.


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