Christmas in Morocco
Christmas in Morocco
When it comes to Christmas in Morocco vacation ideas, Morocco isn’t the first country that comes to mind. When we moved here, I was devastated to lose the holiday, which carried so many memories and sentiments for me. It was a religious holiday in our house when I was younger, but as I grew older, it became more secular. I still grin when I remember candlelight Christmas Eve church services, the aroma of pine, and, of course, excellent food, even though I’ve been a Muslim for nearly ten years
In Marrakech, we discovered Christmas!
Last December, I was walking through one of Marrakech‘s malls when I came across that Christmas in Morocco tree and nearly passed out. I’m sure people thought I was crazy, but it was comforting to have something familiar to look forward to while I was away from my family. If you visit at this time, you’ll see a mix of holiday activity and no trace of it at all. It all depends on the kind of adventure you’re looking for.
Considering spending Christmas in Morocco?
Isn’t it true that Morocco celebrates Christmas?
No and yes, respectively. Outside of the major cities, there is no mention of Christmas. Children go to school as usual, and the majority of people are unaware that it is Christmas. Morocco is a majority Muslim country, and because Christmas is not a Muslim holiday, it is not a holiday in Morocco during the Christmas season.
However, Morocco has a sizable (and rising) foreign community, and sure, Christmas in Morocco exist, thus Christmas DOES exist. If you visit a large city such as Marrakech, Casablanca, or Rabat, you will undoubtedly see traces of the holiday.
Remember that Christmas and New Year’s are peak tourist seasons in many cities, including Marrakech. This means hotels and riads are booked months in advance, prices are higher, and there are far more people than at other times of the year.
If you wish to go on a Morocco Christmas tour, you should book and register as soon as possible. Private trips are available, but you may also join a group tour with Intrepid or G Adventures, who run regular tours throughout Morocco.
When you spend Christmas in Morocco, you might have one of two experiences.
Yes! Give me some Christmas cheer!
In Morocco, how does Christmas go?
First and foremost, most Christmas decorations and celebrations will have a European flavor, which is understandable given that the vast majority of expats who celebrate are from Europe.
Christmas treats, such as the buche de Nôel (a French Christmas cake), are commonly seen at typical Moroccan bakeries, festooned with Christmas wrapping, Santas, and other Christmas-like decorations.
In larger cities, hotels and restaurants will often provide Christmas menus and, on occasion, special holiday festivities. This is particularly common at larger, luxury, and chain hotels, but smaller riads are now getting in on the act.
In Marrakech, or any other Moroccan city, there are no huge Christmas markets. Small events held by churches or various expat groups may be found.
Don’t believe you’ll be out of luck if you’re religious in Morocco. Churches can be found all around the country. Because of the influence of the Spanish and French, the majority of churches are Catholic. The Weekday Masses website has a list of some, but there are likely to be additional smaller groups in less organized churches. If you inquire at your hotel or riad, they may be able to assist you. But, especially in tiny towns, don’t be surprised if there aren’t any congregations.
Get out of the medinas and into the modern districts and shopping malls if you want to view Christmas decorations. Christmas window decorations, holiday lights, Christmas trees, and even Santa may be found here.
No thanks, I'd like to get out of here!
If you’d prefer avoid Christmas in Morocco, you may do it here as well. Travel to smaller towns and cities where the holiday is rarely noticed by locals. Go south to Agadir, Mirleft, or all the way south to Dakhla for a warm and inviting holiday.
The weather will be warm enough for a swim in the ocean (if you’re brave or have a wetsuit), or at the very least some sunbathing. Flights to Dakhla are available on a regular basis from Casablanca, Marrakech, and Agadir, although the other two destinations are more easily reached by automobile.
Mountain settlements are another excellent option to consider. Imlil is a small but lovely town only 90 minutes from Marrakech. If there has been enough snowfall at this time of year, Oukaimden in the south and Ifrane in the north offer facilities that will allow you to ski in the mountains.
Finally, a camel trip in the Sahara is a fantastic way to spend a vacation. Temperatures can drop near freezing at night, but if you’re prepared, it’s one of the greatest times of year to visit the desert – plus you’ll be less likely to encounter scorpions and other less friendly desert wildlife.
While the situation may not be as hectic in other parts of the country, planning ahead is essential.
It’s not a good idea to show up anyplace in the nation this time of year without making any bookings in the hopes of finding anything that matches your requirements.