December in Marrakech – dates for your diary

Visitors to Marrakech in December can expect, on average, a remarkable 7 hours of sunshine per day. Thus, although one can also expect occasional light rain, albeit only 30 mm per month, daytime temperatures are typically around 19 ͦ  with a night time minimum of around 5 ͦ , another reason, no doubt, why Christmas shoppers are much in evidence at this time of year. Sunshine and shopping apart, here are some other reasons to visit Marrakech in December.

December in Marrakech – religious festival

The 12th of December is the day of ‘Eid Al Mawled’, or ‘Mawlid’, an important religious festival celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (born 570 AD). Declared an official holiday by the Ottomans in 1588, it is also a public holiday in Morocco, the day being marked by recitals of Koranic verses and religious lectures.

December in Marrakech – secular Event

The Transnational Moroccan Cinema Conference scheduled to run from the 4th to the 7th of December, is an international symposium seeking to examine the global circulation of film as a cultural and industrial art form, especially those which deal with ethnic communities and experiences of migration and exile.

16th Marrakech International Film Festival

A major event in the film industry’s international calendar, the Marrakech International Film Festival is being held this year between the 2nd and 10th December. Details of the programme have not yet been announced but, as usual, there is likely to be a theme to the festival, such as the recent tributes to the success of Indian, Canadian and Mexican cinema.

The location for many an epic film dating back to ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and beyond, the film industry in Morocco is well established and flourishing, its importance in the country’s economy being underlined by the growth of the Marrakech film festival which has been graced in recent years by the presence of such directors as Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese and Terry Gilliam. Other past visitors have included Francis Ford Coppola, Susan Sarandon, David Lynch and numerous stars of French cinema. The lively central square, Place Jemaa el-Fna, is one of several stages for the festival when it is transformed into an open-air cinema. Gaining in momentum and authority every year, the Marrakech festival now rivals Cannes as a major industry event.

For more information on the International Marrakech film Festival, click HERE.

New Year’s Eve

Then, of course, there is New Year’s Eve. As usual, the city will be alive with parties, fireworks and a range of festive events organised by the better hotels everywhere. At Les Borjs de la Kasbah a gala evening of varied entertainment and feasting is organised from late evening till the wee small hours in a specially erected, exotically decorated marquee over the hotel’s main patio. Visit: for details.

Other Things to Do

As a Muslim country, Morocco doesn’t have ‘Christmas markets’ as in Germany, Austria and elsewhere in Europe but the souks of Marrakech are as lively as ever, the perfect place for a little Christmas shopping. Offering everything from leather goods to traditional clothing, hand-made jewellery to exotic spices and more, the labyrinthine souks of Marrakech are quite simply unmissable!

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