The festival is born from a tragic legend passed down through generations, the Amazigh equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.The festival is born from a tragic legend passed down through generations, the Amazigh equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.There once were two young people who fell deeply in love in Morocco. Unfortunately, they were from enemy tribes. Their families wouldn’t allow them to marry. Out of grief, they wept bitterly. They continued their crying day and night until they created two lakes made of their tears. Their despair was so great, they committed suicide by drowning in those two lakes. The Imilchil Moussem has been created to pay homage to those two young lovers. Henceforth, all the families granted total freedom to their children to marry whomever they chose. The engagement festivities take place every September in the largest souk of all . . the Ait Haddidou Tribe. The lakes are called “Isli”, meaning bridegroom and “Tislit” meaning bride. The neighboring tribes gather together near these lakes, and the women choose their husbands. There is great feasting after the solemn and respectful ceremony.
For the young men and girls of the area, it is a tradition to get married on the day of the Moussem in ancient times, a holy man used to bless the betrothed at Agdoul, and legend says they were always happy.
The fiancé’ festival is staged on the site of the tomb of the Oldman, who is venerated in the high atlas. It is a time for some 30,000 people from the mountains to assemble under tents for three days with their flocks, their horses and camels. It is an occasion for the young girls to wear their finery, their sumptuous silver jewelry, and to dance for hours under the sun and under the stars.
These festivals are not really connected with Moussems because they are joyful events with no religious associations. Each region holds a festival to celebrate the basic source of its wealth for the benefit of numerous visitors both from Morocco and abroad. Traditions have established the program of these local festivals. Everyone must conform to custom in order to be accepted by a society that is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage.
Imilchil is also a beautiful place to visit outside of the festival period , thus getting to know the surrounding areas with the unparalleled beauty of nature and the historic villages of the Atlas Mountains.