Archive for the ‘Events In Marrakech’ Category

Marrakech in July 2016 – Scorching Dates for Your Diary

Monday, June 13th, 2016

With temperatures ranging between 21C and 37C, July is, alongside August, the hottest month of the year in Marrakech, both in terms of the searing dry heat and its popular festivals.

National and Religious Holidays

There are two religious festivals in July, the first of which, Lailat al Kadr, takes place on Friday, July 1st. Commemorating the night on which the Koran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, this ‘Night of Power’ is considered to be the Muslim year’s holiest event.

Eid al-Fitr

The second, equally important religious festival taking place in July is Eid al-Fitr, which sees Muslims around the world celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan by visiting friends and family and exchanging gifts. There are also numerous parades and street parties.

Eid al Arch

Eid al Arch, the ‘Feast of the Throne’, is a National Holiday marking the succession of King Mohammed VI from his father Hassan II. Held annually on the 30th of July, this day is celebrated with cavalcades (parades or processions on horseback), feasts and fireworks.

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Hot Diary Dates for June in Marrakech 2016

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

With temperatures between 17 C (night time lows) and 31 (daily highs) and very little rain, Marrakech gets rather hot in June. While keeping out of the searing midday sun is recommended (there are some wonderful historic sites, museums and verdant gardens to keep cool in), June sees a series of festivals and events.

Ramadan, 06/06/2016 – 05/07/2016

The 6th of June marks the beginning of Ramadan, the month of fasting concluding with the Eid el-Fitr feast day on the 5th of July. While business continues pretty much ‘as usual’ in the squares and souks of Marrakech, and restaurants, gardens, museums and palaces remain open, it is wise to remember that you are visiting a Muslim country at a particularly holy time in the Islamic calendar and that there are certain rules one should observe out of courtesy for local residents.

Fes Sacred Musical Festival, 13/06/2016 – 21/06/2016

One of Morocco’s most important cultural events, the Sacred Music Festival in Fes celebrates and promotes the relationship between spirituality and the arts, although the spectrum of performances is actually much wider than that. Local as well as celebrated international artists representing many different cultures from around the world, are on display with outstanding performances of music and dance.

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Visiting Marrakech During Ramadan

About Ramadan

Dates for the holy month of Ramadam vary from year to year but in 2016 observance of this most important of Muslim traditions begins on 6th June and ends with the festival of Eid el-Fitr on July the 5th. Ramadan is observed through daily fasting from dawn until sunset when communities come alive as the faithful gather to dine en famille. Eid el-Fitr, the three-day festival marking the end of Ramadan, is celebrated with more feasting, music and dancing.

While, in Morocco, business carries on pretty much as usual at this time, especially as far as foreign tourists are concerned, there are some things they should be aware of.

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May – early summer in Marrakech and beyond

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

With at least 10 hours of sunshine per day, only 20 mm of rainfall (typically falling over just 3 days) and temperatures at an average 21˚c (from night time 14˚c to daily highs around 27˚c), the month of May really kicks off summer, contrasting markedly with the cooler climate of most of northern Europe. Once again, tourists have an array of festivals to enjoy.

Kelaa-des-Mgouna Rose Festival, 2nd Weekend in May

Celebrating the coming into flower of Marrakech’s thousands of roses, the Rose Festival takes place over two days within the souk area of Kelaa-des-Mgouna, the desert town location of the largest of Morocco’s rose water distillery plants. Festivities include a parade of colourful, flower-decorated floats accompanied by traditional Berber music, dancing, singing and sword-juggling displays; in addition, there is the election and crowning of this year’s Rose Queen and sale of lots of delicious local food. Camel rides and excursions to the lovely Valley of Roses are also available.

Gnaoua World Music Festival, 12/05/2016 -15/05/2016

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Events to enjoy in April in Marrakech and Morocco

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Well into the Moroccan springtime, April sees around 10 hours of daily sunshine, very little rain (barely 30 mm throughout the entire month, most of it falling over just a few days) and average temperatures hovering around 18˚ C (lows of 12˚ C and highs of 24˚ C). At this time of year the tourist season is in full swing, as reflected by the number of festivals and other events.

Grand Prix Hassan II, 04/04/2016 – 10/04/2016

One of the main April events is the Grand Prix Hassan II tennis tournament. Held in nearby Casablanca, this clay court ATP World Tour competition, the 32nd, will once again see the attendance of some of the world’s top professionals.

Marathon des Sables, 08.04.2016 – 18/04/2016 

April is also the month of the world renowned ‘Marathon des Sables’, the ‘Sand Marathon’ which attracts hundreds of runners each year to a unique challenge over 150 miles of desert terrain in 6 gruelling stages:

  • IRHS to Khermou, 18.02 miles/29 km
  • Khermou to Jebel El Otfal, 22.06 miles/35.5 km
  • Jebel El Otfal to Taourirt Mouchanne, 24.85 miles/40 km
  • Taourirt Mouchanne to Oued El Jdaid, 51.08 miles/82.2 km
  • Oued El Jdaid to Erg Znaigui, 26.22 miles/42.2 km
  • Erg Znaigui to Merzouga, 13.11 miles/21.1 km

Alwan’Art, 15/04/2016 – 19/04/2016

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The Marrakech International Marathon

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Marrakech International Marathon 2016, in January, is one of the world’s most prestigious and an important tourist attraction. Hosted in Marrakech under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, this year’s race, the 26th edition of the event, is preceded on the 30th by a ‘Welcome Race’ and the ‘Kids’ Race’ at 10:00 and 10:30 respectively (from the Marathon Village). 

 Main Races

The starting point for the two main events, the half marathon and marathon itself, is on Menara Avenue on the 31st January at 08:00 and 09:30 respectively.

The Circuit

Predominantly flat (with some modest inclines in the Palmeraie district) and thus one of the fastest, the IAAF-approved circuit covers the regulation 42.2 km (marathon) and 21.1km (half marathon) taking participants and spectators along city ramparts and some of the most attractive parts of the city’s residential areas, through the Menara and Agdal Gardens, past ancient monuments s well as olive and orange groves.

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January 2016 in Marrakech

Monday, December 21st, 2015

While winter in much of the northern hemisphere is characterised by cold, wet and often snowy conditions the climate of southern Morocco is comparatively mild, indeed pleasantly warm during a large part of each day. Average maximum daily temperatures hover around 18° (warm enough to enjoy relaxing by the pool) while night time lows are seldom below 5°. Taken together with some 7 hours of sunshine per day and pretty modest rainfall (25 mm), January can be a great month to visit Marrakech if you fancy avoiding the crowds while profiting from low season prices.

January Events

Proclamation of Independence – January 11th is Morocco’s Independence Day when the nation marks the formal separation from colonial France in 1956. Some businesses will be closed on this day in observation of this national holiday

Aid al-Mawlid – 24th January is the birthday of the prophet Mohammad. Mosques are busy, of course but, again, many businesses will be closed.

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December 2015 Events in Marrakech

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

One of the year’s cooler months, December in Marrakech is still very pleasant, at least by comparison with much of the rest of the northern hemisphere. Daily temperatures range between lows of 9 degrees to highs of around 20 and you can reckon on around 7 hours of sunshine every day. There are several events and other attractions in Marrakech in December, the International Film Festival being the most notable.

International Film Festival – this year marks the 15th edition of this increasingly popular international event taking place from the 4th – 12th December, the jury president this year being Francis Ford Coppola. An important centre of film production over many decades, Morocco has welcomed some of the top names in the industry in recent years, not least Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese, Orson Wells and David Lean having made films here as far back as the sixties. Following the special tribute last year to Japanese cinema, this year’s festival celebrates Canada’s contribution to the film industry. As usual, several films will be screened on the main square (Jemaa el Fna) in the centre of town, as well as other venues.

New Year’s Eve – although not an official national holiday in a Muslim country like Morocco, which operates to the Islamic as opposed to Gregorian calendar, New Year is celebrated widely, as it is in most major, non-Christian tourist destinations, especially in hotels. At Les Borjs de la Kasbah a gastronomic gala dinner is laid on for guests preceded by cocktails around the pool. The hotel’s main patio becomes a tented dining venue for the evening with a variety of entertainment including music and belly dancing, fire eating display and magic performances at table. After midnight a disc jockey takes over as revellers dance their way into the wee small hours.

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Marrakech in November – Events and Other Things to Do

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

With daily temperatures ranging between 11 and 23 degrees, November in Marrakech is very pleasant. Visitors can expect over seven hours of sunshine and little, if any rain (31mm per month). A number of events at this time of year are worthy of note:

November Events in Marrakech

The two main events in Marrakech during November are the Eid Al Massira Al Khadra on the 6th and Eid Al Istiqulal on the 18th.

Eid Al Massira Al Khadra, the ‘Green March’ Anniversary, commemorates the march of 27,000 soldiers and approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans to the Western Sahara’s border on the 6th of November 1975. Identifying with Islam through choice of the symbolic colour green and directed by King Hassan II, the march was undertaken to call for the return of the territory to Morocco.

Marked by varying festivities throughout the country, Eid Al Istiqulal is Morocco’s Independence Day, a National Holiday commemorating the return of King Mohammed from his exile in Madagascar and the subsequent declaration of independence from both France and Spain on this day in 1956.

Other Marrakech Events in November

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October festivals in Marrakech & elsewhere

Monday, September 7th, 2015

As late summer moves towards autumn October in Marrakech is arguably the best time of year, although with temperatures still in the high twenties it is hardly cool. One can expect around nine hours of sunshine per day. Rainfall, after the drought of summer, begins to be a feature of the weather once again but, at 23mm, there’s not much of it. If there are fewer festivals in Marrakech now than at other times in the season there are still a number of noteworthy events to draw the crowds.

Fatih Muharram

Fatih Muharram is celebrated by Muslims all over the world on the first day of the Islamic Calendar’s new year which, this year, falls on the 14th October. On this day, Muslims reflect on the journey made by the prophet Mohamed and his followers to Medina in 622 of the Muslim Current Era.

Erfoud Date Festival

This famous festival, celebrated in Erfoud, a small Saharan oasis some six hours to the east of the former garrison town of Ouarzazate, is set to commence at the end of the harvest, usually at the beginning of October. The festival involves traditional dance and music with processions, dromedary races, feasting and the crowning of this year’s ‘Date Queen’.

Tissa Horse Festival

The quiet country town of Tissa, some 30 miles north east of Fes, holds its Horse Festival at the beginning of October (exact date still to be confirmed). At this popular, unique festival hundreds of horsemen and their mounts, decked out in elaborate, colourful, traditional costumes, show off their skills. In addition to equestrian events and competitions, the festival involves a good deal of energetic music, dancing and singing, traditional food and plenty of mint tea.

Tip of the Month

If you’re looking for one of the lesser known places of interest in Marrakech look no further than the Mellah, the historic Jewish neighbourhood. Still in comparatively excellent shape (unlike many Jewish Quarters in Europe), this area offers a one-of-a-kind experience and notable synagogue.