Below you will find a list of all official, religious, public and national holidays in the kingdom of Morocco.
✪ RAMADAN :
Due to the majority of Morocco’s population being Muslim, the Islamic holidays are of great importance for contemplation, observance and celebration, the most important time being the Holy month of Ramadan. At this time the month is spent with much time devoted to families and many working folk often have time-off from work. The Islamic Holy month of Ramadan is dependent on the lunar calendar year which is 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, consequently the Ramadan month and other holidays fall on different times each year.
Ramadan is celebrated throughout the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar and commemorates a time in Islamic history when the QURAN was revealed to Prophet Mohammed and at this Holy time, homage and devotion are offered to ALLAH. For the entire Holy month total fasting i.e. abstinence from food, drink, incl. water, sexual activity and smoking during daylight hours is observed. These traditions are said to be an exercise in self- discipline, a time for reflection on one’s life and on one’s selflessness; a time of contemplation of others in the world not as fortunate; a time to be mindful of and minimize one’s self-importance. Daily prayers and reading the Quran play important spiritual roles during this month of devotion.
At the conclusion of each fasting day and after the call to prayers by a siren sound, a welcome feast is had by all. It is a time of stillness in the towns as the population stops to eat. Meals include dates, harira, tomato soup, hard boiled eggs, savory foods and sweet pastries. ‘Suhoor’, early breakfast is taken just prior to call to prayers at sunrise. Travelers will find exciting and energetic evenings with lots of great food as cities and towns come back to life at the end of each fasting day.
There are significant exemptions to fasting for the Holy month i.e. children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, travelers, the elderly and infirmed, and non-Muslims. Missed fast days can be made-up later with charity work by providing help and food for the needy. Non-Muslims are expected to display understanding, great respect and sensitivity for all those observing Ramadan Holy time. In Morocco tourism slows during Ramadan and some associated industries close during day light hours of the Holy month, e.g. cafes and restaurants. Public transport continues, as do some working Muslims. At sunrise, the first prayer time is observed (fajer). Sunset, breaking the fast of the day with prayer (maghreb) is signaled by a siren, after which refreshments flow through the night.
✪ EID ALFITR :
Tradition dictates that, on the completion of the Holy month of Ramadan, there follows feasting and a two day public holiday. Tradition also dictates that at the end of the month of Ramadan, particular foods are taken; dates and harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, vegetables and often chicken or beef. When spiritual experiences are fulfilled, some Moroccans continue the Ramadan ritual of fasting for an additional week, known as Shawwal.
✪ EID AL ADHA :
This festival is a reminder of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael in obedience to a command from God. It is the anniversary of the Quran entry which tells of God ordering Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismail then God provided a ram instead. The occasion serves as a reminder to all Muslims that they should submit to God and be prepared to sacrifice anything that God wishes. Each family in Morocco will sacrifice a sheep for family celebratory consumption and often is the only time in the year poor families eat meat. Berber families decorate their homes and themselves and the family home becomes a place of welcome for other families. Many facilities close at this time i.e. banks, museums, hotels and restaurants and public transport is difficult.
✪ FATIH MUHARRAM (Islamic New Year) :
MUHARRAM is the first day of the first month of the Islamic calendar and signifies remembrance of the migration of the Islamic prophet Mohammed from Mecca (where he was born) with his companions to the city known today as Medina between July and September in 622 where they could practice and spread Islam better and to escape the torture of the idol-worshippers.. Festivities begin the first month of the Islamic calendar. Gifts are often exchanged at this time.
✪ EID AL MOLOUD :
In addition to Eid Alfitr and Eid Al Adha, several other holidays are celebrated throughout the year. Moroccans also celebrate Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, known as Eid Al Mouloud which is commemorated in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar and is celebrated with different things in different countries, including parades, festivities, decoration, and feasts. In Morocco, it is usually celebrated with special sermons at the mosques and family dinners, during which religious poems are recited.
✪ ASHOURA :
Another important holiday is Ashura, which occurs thirty days after Eid Al-Adha, on the 10th day of the first month. On this day, Muslims remember the untimely death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein ibn Ali, who died in the Battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 in Karbala, Iraq.
Families donate one tenth of their annual income to the poor, known as an offering Zakat, one of the FIVE pillars of islam.
✪ INDEPENDENCE DAY :
Morocco independence day takes place on 18th November every year. It is the anniversary of the royal family return to Morocco from exile in Madagascar in 1955 and the lebirty from France and Spain who colonized the country for 44 years. On this day there are parades, variety of food which is sold by street vendors and a special ceremonies take place at the King’s palace and promoting people’s loyalty to the king. Also streets are adorned with Moroccan flags and the Moroccan TV broadcasts documentaries about famous Moroccan celebrities.
✪ GREEN MARCH (6th November) :
The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan Spanish Province of Sahara to Morocco. Up to 350,000 unarmed Moroccans joined with 27,000 soldiers marched to the Western Sahara border calling for the disputed territory to be returned to Morocco.