Events in Marrakech: December 2011 through February 2012

Marrakech Events December 2011

International Marrakech Film Festival 2011 – firmly established in the local calendar, this is the main event for December in Marrakech.  Attracting ‘A list’ stars, it is an important occasion for Morocco’s successful film industry, based in Ouarzazate, where the Atlas Studios have played host to countless films from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator.

Olive Festival 2011 – another major event, this charming festival takes place in the middle of the month in Rafai, in the Fez province. You can enjoy the traditional olive-picking ceremony, numerous ‘Diffa’ feasts and folklore events performed in a vast area of olive groves.

Marrakech Events January 2012

Marrakech International Marathon 2012more than 5000 international runners take part in the annual Marrakech International Marathon and Half Marathon for which the Pink City offers an exceptional setting for this gruelling athletic event putting it among the most attractive of all marathon circuits.

Considered one of the fastest in the world, the 42km marathon route takes in the tree-lined avenues of the exclusive ‘Hivernage’ district and other palm-lined boulevards of Marrakech, as well as the orange and olive groves of the Menara Gardens and long stretches of the medina’s famous. Daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm and mild (20-25°C), making January in Marrakech ideal for marathon running as well as for short breaks during the European winter.

Marrakech Events February 2012

4L Trophy 2012a student rally with a clear social purpose, the 4L Trophy is a fun challenge that raises money for educational projects in Morocco. The event takes place in a different European country every year and crosses to Morocco for the final stage and closing ceremony in Marrakech.

Accompanied by a team of professionals (engineers, doctors, journalists and TV crews), a thousand pairs of students drive through Europe and parts of the Moroccan desert with tons of schooling equipment, covering a distance of roughly 6000km in the process over 11 days.

The challenge for the participating students is to win a stage, or the overall event, using a road atlas, a map of Morocco and a compass but the bigger aim is to bring as large a quantity of educational supplies and materials as possible into the country for the benefit of its schoolchildren.

Ben Aissa Moussen 2012the largest pilgrimage (moussen) in Morocco, this event, which falls on the eve of the birth of the prophet Mohammed, fills the northern town of Meknes with spectacular fantasias, illusionists, dervish-like dances and other mysterious rituals.

Celebrating Morocco’s most famous holy men, it is focussed on Ben Aissa who is said to have gained magical powers over creatures from the animal world. Like most religious festivals in Morocco, the Ben Aissa takes place according to the moon’s phases, so it is not possible to give the exact date far in advance.

AiM Biennale 2012From 29 February to 4 March, a major festival is held throughout the city of Marrakech focussing on cutting-edge art, literature and film. The AiM, or Arts in Marrakech Biennale 2012, sustains creativity and promotes inter-cultural exchanges between art professionals, students and the general public.

Palais Bahia is usually the venue for the opening evening of major art exhibitions while thought-provoking literary events and film screenings are held at Riad el Fenn. Throughout the streets of Marrakech a programme of fringe events accompanies the biennale, keeping visitors stimulated with sculptures, street entertainment and guided walks and more.

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