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As with all such events, Erfoud’s lively Festival of Dates, held over three days in early October, is a mixture of symbolism, sacred rites and entertainment – traditionally, dates bring good luck, whether tied to a baby’s arm (to ensure a sweet nature), thrown at a bride (to encourage fertility) or offered to strangers (to signify friendship).

On the first morning of the festival, prayers are said at the zaouia of Moulay Ali Shereef at Rissani, followed in the evening by a fashion show of traditional costumes: a pride of embroidered silk, silver and gold headdresses, sequins and elaborate jewellery. Then there are processions, camel races and, on the last night, traditional music and spiritual songs.

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