Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Morocco celebrates traditional orange blossom distillation

A couple purchases orange juice at a cart during Eid al-Fitr holiday in Rabat, Morocco, Monday, June 26, 2017   -  
Copyright © africanews
Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.


The onset of spring in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh is a time of celebration for some as they honour the tradition of the distillation of orange blossoms.

The ancestral tradition is part of the country's national heritage.

This tradition has retained its authenticity in Marrakesh where families have maintained the practice that was handed down from generation to the next.

"The credit for these celebrations goes to the women of Marrakesh and the women of Morocco because it was the women who preserved them," said Jaafar el-Kenousi, the co-founder of Al Munya Association, where orange blossoms are filtered.

The initiative to transform this once-private family occasion into a public, cultural and festive celebration was taken by Al Muniya Association, a nongovernmental organisation.

The celebration has become an annual tradition in Marrakesh, which is considered the capital of sour and bitter orange, also known as bigarade orange.

Orange flower water is mostly used in pastries, dashed in mint tea or sprinkled over the head and hands during religious ceremonies.

The 12th Zahria festival - held this year - was very special, said Saadia Boufous, a member of Al Muniya Association.

Through workshops and events held in public spaces, the festival this time managed to touch a lot of people including young children.

Today, this cultural event interests academics, researchers, pharmacists, perfumers and traders.

To preserve this tradition, Al Muniya Association is going to apply to get this practice recognised by the U.N.'s scientific, educational and cultural organization, known as UNESCO.

View more