There are a number of key religious celebrations that take place in Morocco, the exact dates of which constantly change in keeping with the Islamic calender which follows the lunar cycle.
One such celebration is Eid al-Mawlid an-Nabawī (the festival of the birth of the prophet Mohammed) which takes place in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month of the Islamic calender. The exact nature of the celebrations differ in various corners of Morocco, but in the red city of Marrakech the festival is honoured by locals visiting holy shrines to ask for blessings, and also to give offerings to those worse off within community.
Traditional sweets, cakes and cookies are made by families and distributed, and new clothing for children is purchased. Adults also spend a portion of the day at local mosque’s, reciting poems and prayer.
One custom which some locals practice in the city is the crafting of fans, it is believed by a few that the day of the prophet Mohammed’s birth was exceptionally windy, and this tradition commemorates that.
As the festival draws to a close, families cluster across the leafy shades of the Menara Gardens to the modern parks of Gueliz and all the public spaces in-between to round off the days celebration with a picnic. Which is often accompanied by the dish Tanjia, a culinary delicacy unique to Marrakech.
During festivals such as Eid al-Mawlid an-Nabawī, Marrakech becomes even more charged with life and movement than usual. Experience the astounding culture of the red city for yourself today, through the comfort of a luxury Riad Hotel in the very heart of the Marrakech Medina.
The Arabic word Riad means garden and some of the most beautiful gardens in Marrakech are to be found in the medina providing shade in traditional houses. There are also a number of public gardens which are well worth a visit.
Established in the 1920’s by French painter Jacques Majorelle and made famous as the Marrakech residence of the late Yves St Laurent. This garden is located in the New town of Guiliz and is very much a City Garden screened by high walls and very much an African garden with its splendid cacti, palms and bougainvillea. The artist’s studio is now a museum of Islamic art which also exhibits some works by Majorelle himself.
Outside the medina about a mile and a half from the Koutoubia mosque, a pleasant walk but as there is very little shade on the route it is best avoided in the heat of the day. The focal point of the garden is an immense lake with an elegant royal pavilion sitting behind it. The perfect backdrop to this tranquil scene is provided by acres of fields which have been olive groves since the twelfth century.
The ‘Jardin Agdal’ cover more than 30 acres and like the Menara gardens were laid out at the time of the twelfth century Almohad dynasty. Agdal contains a great variety of plants as well as a number of pavilions some of which are open to the public and some of which are kept for the private use of the Moroccan Royal family. The gardens are located behind the Royal Palace to the south of the Medina.