The ancient ritual of Sefrou

Cherry Festival

The Sefrou festival, also called the “moussem of the King’s fruits,” celebrates the region’s cherry growing industry and its unique cultural heritage.

The festival was listed in 2012 on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list, which recognizes practices worldwide that celebrate cultural identity and promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

The event provides an opportunity for local associations and cooperatives to commercialize their products and promote the region’s economy.

The Sefrou festival includes art events, conferences on cherry farming, open-air concerts, sports competitions, and the annual “Miss Cherry” pageant. If anything like last year, folkloric shows, an art exhibition, and “fantasias,” are also on the cards.

The image of ritual

Sefrou is one of the oldest towns in the region and is believed even to pre-date the city of Fez’s 8th-century structures. The region welcomes visitors who are drawn by the diverse and exotic beauty of Morocco and its people. Joining in a festival is one of the best ways that visitors to this fascinating country can gain insight into the daily lives of Moroccans. Many of the festivals are held in the larger cities and are very popular tourist attractions. The Cherry Festival is a wonderful opportunity for travelers to enjoy a festival that is a little off the beaten track in one of the most picturesque settings in Morocco.

Image of Sefrou in history

It is one of the oldest festivals taking place in Sefrou in the Kingdom of Morocco since June 1920 AD.  This festival is attended by many foreign tourists and Moroccan visitors.  The festival is marked by the nomination of girls for the title of Miss_Love_Kings_Love.

The history of the Kings’ Love Festival and the idea of ​​the celebration are based on organizing a parade that roams the streets of the city, led by a reed doll dressed in women’s clothes, before adopting a real queen, in line with the customs of the conservative region and according to the prevailing ideas at the time.

The queens of “Olfi”

The credit for organizing the first session of the festival goes to the French governor of the city at the time, “Pierre Saugan”, who was inspired by the idea of ​​​​celebrating the fruit of the love of kings from a similar festival organized by the town of “Olfi” located on the outskirts of the French city of Toulouse, which is famous for growing the same fruit, and all the paragraphs of the “Olfi” festival were reproduced  Including the coronation of the queen of the love of kings in each session, and since that date, Muslim, Jewish and Christian girls have competed for the title, and the selection was made through the principle of alternation between the girls of the three religions.

Large participants of the festival

In 1934, the name of the festival was changed to officially become the “Festival of the Love of Kings,” the year in which the straw doll will be replaced with a real queen. The first queen chosen in 1934 was a young French woman, called “Suzanne Bernard.”

New means of celebration were invented in line with the change in Moroccan society, which became more organized due to the concerted efforts of local and regional authorities, external interests, actors in various economic and social sectors, and institutional partners, with the support of institutions and companies from the private and public sectors.

The festival begins with the selection of the Queen of Love of Kings, her bridesmaids, an Arab, and a Berber bride. On the second day, the procession of torches begins, then the queen of love of kings is crowned on the third day, after which she goes out in an official procession inside an open chariot with the queen’s chair in the middle surrounded by the bridesmaids’ chair.

Producer of this exhibition:

Grace Ekpe

Janai Bowers

Nouhaila Laaroussi

Wenxuan Dong

Yue Luo

Zehra Rizvi

Zineb El Azhar

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