Many of the major holidays in Morocco are Muslim feast days. These joyous affairs are usually celebrated by visiting family members, enjoying special meals and exchanging gifts.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed eat or drink from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. This fasting is known as saum. Eid al-Seghir marks the end of Ramadan. People wear new clothes, visit the mosque and enjoy feasting together.

Eid al-Kebir commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. The day falls during hajj, the season of the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca. On this special day, some families slaughter a sheep. Its skin is cured when the feast is finished. Families keep a third of the meat, give another third to family and friends, and distribute the final third to the poor.

 Moussems are local events that honour the local marabouts. Celebrations are usually conducted near the marabout’s tomb. Some moussems are occasions to hold a special market, like the camel market in Goulimine. Others are festive celebrations that attract people from other towns. Women may dress in traditional clothing. These gatherings unite family and friends and some families use the time together to find a spouse for unmarried children. Everyone dances, sings, eats and prays together.

 Green March Day commemorates the occasion in 1975 when 350,000 civilian Moroccans, both men and women, marched into the Western Sahara area to claim it for Morocco. This is seen as an important demonstration of Moroccan nationalism. Reunification Day celebrates Morocco’s declaration of unity with the Western Sahara in 1979.

  Did you know?
Religious holidays follow the Muslim lunar calendar. Each month begins with the new moon. The holidays therefore do not fall on the same day each year according to the Western calendar.


January 1  New Year’s Day
March 3 Throne Day
May 1 Labour Day
May 23 National Day
July 9 King Hassan's Birthday
August 14 Reunification Day
November 6 Anniversary of the Green March
November 18 Independence Day
  Did you know?
When a sheep is to be slaughtered for a holiday feast, it is bought well in advance, since smaller sheep are cheaper. People keep the sheep for a month or more to fatten it. In the days before feasts, sheep are often kept tied up on the rooftops of houses.