July 17th this year marks Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, a month of daytime fasting for all devout Muslims. Eid is celebrated by a day of feasting on a scale similar to the Christian Christmas although, unlike Christmas, the date of the festival of Eid changes every year.
Popular Arts Festival
This is also the first day of one of the major cultural events in the Marrakech calendar – the Popular Arts Festival. Scheduled to take place from 17th to 21st of July, this popular event is one of the city’s biggest and most colourful festivals. Performers, including seductive belly dancers, Berber musicians and international artists, magicians, snake-charmers and others will transform the city (and, in particular, the Djemma el Fna square and El Badi Palace) into a riot of colour and sounds. If you were able to experience only one Moroccan festival in your life this would be the one to go for.
Fête du Trône
On the 30th of July, the public buildings of Marrakech will be adorned with flags and special lighting. Fireworks and free entertainment throughout the city mark the Fête du Trône, an important secular holiday commemorating the accession of Mohammed VI to the throne in 1999. While less extravagant and colourful than the Popular Arts Festival, this event, too, is well worth adding to your holiday programme.
Tip of the Month
To better cope with the scorching heat of summer – July temperatures will often reach 40 degrees, sometimes more – it is best to limit day-time activities to inactivity around the pool or being pampered by specialist therapists in the luxury spa at Les Borjs de la Kasbah or visiting indoor attractions such as the Saadian Tombs, nearby, or museums devoted to Morocco’s cultural heritage as, being indoors, they are appreciably cooler than the streets and souks.
Keep cool in a shady Garden
On the other hand, several gardens in, or on the outskirts of, Marrakech offer welcome shade and relative tranquillity; these include the Jardin d’Agdal, the Bahia Palace Gardens and the Cyber Park of Arsat Moulay Abdeslam. Wherever you find yourself at this time, however, always remember to drink plenty of water, or the delightful local mint tea, as this plays a vital role in preventing dehydration.