By Abdelhak El Ouargui
By Abdelhak El Ouargui
Rabat – Kalâat M’gouna is a small city located in the southeastern Moroccan province of Tinghir, in the Drâa-Tafilalt region. It is situated approximately 85 km east of Ouarzazate, and 78 km West of Tinghir on the M-10, the main road that connects Marrakech and Errachidia.
The town is famous – nationally and internationally – for its high quality roses and for its annual Rose Festival.
The annual Rose Festival is traditionally held in Kelâat M’gouna, when the people of the region celebrate the arrival of roses to the Imgoun and Dades vallies. It is one of the oldest festivals in Morocco, and has been celebrated for over half a century. This year will mark the 54 edition of the festival.
The festival aims to promote social and economic development for the local constituencies, as well as contribute to the development of the tourism industry of the area.
Many events take place at the yearly festival, including performances by folk groups, horse shows and the Miss Rose contest. Other organized events include sporting activities, showcasing of local customs and traditions of the region, performances in fantasia, as well as concerts from both well-known Moroccan artists and local folkloric groups from the Kelâat M’gouna regions.
The pageant is a beauty competition for young women, where the three winners then take part in a procession on a decorated float. The procession includes traditional folklore, dancing, singing, sword maneuvering, and playing of traditional musical instruments. Visitors enjoy the spectacle as the parade proceeds down the main street. A traditions dating back to the first Rose Queen in 1983, this has been a long-standing tradition of the festival.
This show is an opportunity to highlight the richness and diversity of the Amazigh culture in general, with a particular focus on the Dades’ and Imgoun’s culture, while giving the opportunity for the youth of the region to highlight the cultural and artistic aspects of their culture.
The exhibition tent
The tent hosts around 300 exhibitors. There is a hall for presenting handicrafts (carpets, daggers, etc.) whilst another hall is reserved for rose products and its multiple uses (cooking, beauty, perfumery, etc.). Another gallery is allotted for visitors to discover the history of roses and the methods of production through videos and photos, and a place to find other local products like henna, honey, oil, almonds, etc.
The exhibition tent aims to support local initiatives – especially those that contribute towards women’s issues or owned/operated by women – by emphasizing the role of associations and cooperatives, promoting and marketing the products of local producers, and introducing the various products and traditions of the region.