From the Sahara to the sea all in one place, The National Mall, Washington D.C
Time: October 26th to October 30th, 2017.
Place: National Mall Square in the heart of Washington DC.
Event: A celebration of Moroccan Culture in Washington, DC: “The Magic of Morocco”
Morocco has enjoyed a historic relationship with the United States of America over the course of more than two centuries from 1777 to 2017, ever since the Sultan Mohammed bin Abdullah recognized the independence of the United States with a royal treaty permitting the United States, among other countries, to transact business in the Kingdom of Morocco.
The festival will highlight Moroccan history, emphasizing the Kingdom’s history of tolerance and historic civilization, and will honor the longstanding friendship between Morocco and the United States. In addition, the festival is dedicated to honoring the essential contribution of women to Moroccan society, culture, and industry.
The festival will open on October 26 at 11:00 am.
Daily hours: 10 am to 6 pm
The Festival will take place from October 26 to October 30 in the center of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., surrounded by the historic buildings and monuments of the nation’s capital, including the Capitol, the White House, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Thousands of visitors converge on the Mall on a daily basis; roughly 25 million people visit every year.
In the open space of the Mall, a group of tents will showcase traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and handicrafts, demonstrating the beauty and creativity of Morocco’s cultural heritage. Visitors to this tent village will be immersed in the world of traditional Moroccan crafts, including wood carving, pottery, leather working, iron work, and textile production. The exhibits will inspire visitors with a sense of the high aspirations and rich cultural heritage of Morocco.
Guests will be able to congregate under the shelter of the main desert tent, demonstrating the accomplishments of the Kingdom in developing not only its Southern provinces but the entire region from North to South and East to West, including both its historic cities and its traditional countryside.
Honoring the Essential Role of Women in Morocco
One of the main events highlighting the growing empowerment of Moroccan women will be a round table dedicated to women in Washington, D.C. This round table will underscore the central theme of the festival: women’s contributions to both traditional and modern Morocco, and particularly their essential role in supporting tourism in Morocco.
Women at the round table will discuss their role in promoting sustainable development in Morocco and moving the country forward. The round table will include discussions of women’s rights and gender equality, including an evaluation of the merits and deficiencies of the Kingdom’s relatively recent Family Code. Women at the round table will hail from all sectors of Moroccan society – from entrepreneurs to women in villages and cooperatives to women leaders and decision-makers.
Women will also demonstrate their essential role in the Moroccan textile industry and in the production of Moroccan clothing and saffron dyes.
An official delegation including Moroccan ministers will join Members of Congress and the Mayor of Washington in opening the festival at a flag ceremony on October 26, 2017. A traditional Moroccan welcome with milk and dates will follow the ceremony, along with a tour of the galleries and tents. The dignitaries will be treated to a Moroccan celebration at the Desert Tent including a ceremonial desert tea ceremony, desert music and desert cuisine. The event will display the national flag, desert clothing, and traditional Saharan artwork in order to acquaint the festival’s most distinguished guests with the diversity of Morocco’s linguistic, cultural, geographic, and natural heritage.
Opportunities presented by the Exhibition
God has given Morocco rich natural resources, and the exhibition will also highlight Morocco’s geography, the abundance of its fisheries, agriculture, and wilderness, accompanied by a sophisticated infrastructure ideally suited to the promotion of tourism in such seaside resorts as Dakhla, Essaouira and Tetouan. The country presents the prospect of a rich return for investors as the Kingdom’s social and economic development continue to progress.
Through their association with Morocco’s cultural, economic, and social heritage, handicrafts are one of the most productive economic sectors in Morocco, especially for the tourist industry. To enhance and preserve the production of traditional crafts, the country has established vocational centers, which encourage work with wood, copper, leather, silver, and wool.
Traditional industries are coordinated with the needs of the local markets. Marketing, however, remains one of the biggest challenges for traditional crafts. Accordingly, opportunities abound to develop marketing that will enhance traditional markets and exploit new ones. The festival is an initiative ideally suited to promoting Morocco’s traditional industries in the American market.
Discover Moroccan Culture in the Desert Tent
The Desert Tent will emphasize the economic and social potential of the Moroccan Sahara. Traditional Saharan culture occupies a privileged position in Morocco today. What in the past has met the daily needs of people in Morocco’s southern regions now demonstrates to the world the industry and creativity of the men and women dwelling in the Moroccan Sahara.
The Desert Tent will highlight the artistry of the Sahara, including the beauty of desert jewelry, leather working, and wood working. Henna painting and traditional rituals and customs, including the celebrations attending Moroccan weddings, will delight visitors, who will also be greeted with desert tea, poetry, and music.
Completing the celebration of Saharan culture, the festival will also offer a camel trek.
A Night of Hassania (Saharan) Music
The musical ensemble will perform amidst displays of men’s, women’s, and children’s desert costumes in the Desert Tents. These garments, characterize by thin cloth folded at the shoulders and draped over the body are hemmed at the bottom. The wide collar varies across regions and identifies the areas from which the clothes originate. Saharan dress is perfectly adapted to the climate of the desert, and is usually white or dyed in a striking blue color. Thoroughly ventilated, it also offers effective protection from the many biting insects found in the desert. Quilted garments protect the wearer from both heat and cold, and this fashionable dress enhances the beauty of the women of the desert.
Amidst the splendor of Saharan dress, Layali Al Tarab Al Hasani will perform traditional Moroccan music and introduce an American audience to this delightful music accompanied by Saharan dance, as the audience enjoys Morocco’s traditional tea and hospitality.
Additional Musical Entertainment
In addition to the festival’s celebration of Saharan music, performances will include a women’s singing group, in keeping with the festival’s celebration of women in Morocco, and traditional Gnaoua music. Gnaoua music is a Moroccan art form originally developed by African slaves in Morocco that has since developed into a characteristically Moroccan folk tradition. Colorfully costumed musicians sing and dance to the pulsating percussion of traditional instruments.
The festival will present a photo gallery and video presentation of “The Magic of Morocco, from the Desert to the Sea.” In addition, there will be documentaries showing off the regional leadership of Morocco and its rapid development in all areas of society. Not only will the videos demonstrate the country’s geographic and natural diversity, but they will also illustrate His Majesty the King’s effective foreign policy in Africa and his wise stewardship of the Kingdom’s resources, including its leadership in solar power and renewable energy.
Dakhla, dubbed by the King the “Jewel of Africa,” is a quiet retreat nestled between the desert and the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s beautiful landscape, enhanced by the beauty of both the desert and the sea, enjoys the warmth of a golden sun all year round. Devoid of crime, this city is destined to become a major tourist destination. From the deserts sands to the sandy beaches, Dakhla embraces the beauty of both land and sea. America’s New York Times has placed this lovely coastal city on its list of top international tourist destinations.
This sunlit city on a peninsula extending 40 kilometers into the ocean like a massive ship embarking upon the waves takes the name Dakhla from an Arabic word meaning “inside.” Surrounded by waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquility of an inland lake, Dakhla, the “floating city,” is the world’s only city where the sun both rises and sets over the waves. South of the city lies the Valley of Gold, a vast expanse that comprises 20 percent of Morocco’s land area.
Celebration of a Moroccan Wedding
Visitors to the festival will also have a chance to experience a traditional Moroccan wedding ceremony, a lavish event at the heart of Moroccan culture and a ritual that often lasts several days in Morocco. From henna tattoos on the hands and feet of the women to the repeated change of the bride’s gorgeous attire, the ceremony will highlight the elegance of Moroccan culture through this joyous ritual. The event will highlight the beauty of Moroccan kaftans and also traditional Berber attire.