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Libyan Anniversaries, Public Holidays, Festivals & Tourist Events


Festivals are large celebrations with plenty of food, drinks, dance and music. In one ancient Egyptian festival in the 12th century BC, over 11,000 loaves of bread and nearly 400 jars of beer were made available to the public. Original festivals and feasts were part of a larger ritual belief, largely determined by lunar or solar cycles, in relation to natural seasons. When grains germinate and produce more grains, year after year, humans thankfully reacted with owe and admiration in order to guarantee the following harvest. Most Ancient festivals were religious, while others were royal, like the Libyan-Egyptian Sed festival which celebrated the thirtieth year of the Pharaoh's rule. Ramesses III established his own festival to celebrate his victory over the Libyans who attempted to regain control over the conquered land. Today, most festivals became automated and occur according to a fixed day of the year, regardless of the position of the heavenly bodies or the period they supposed to celebrate.


Anniversaries & Official Holidays

Description:

 

Liberation Day: 23 October 2011:

the day the National Transitional Council (NTC) declared Libya liberated from the rule of Gaddafi.

 

Date: 23rd of October 2011

Description:

Day of Mourning: 26th of October: a mourning day in commemoration of those who lost their lives during the Italian occupation.

 

Date: 26th October

Description:

Eid Al Fitr: (The Break-Fast Feast): 3 days: end of the holy month of Ramadan (the fasting month), marked by visits to the mosque and the homes of all friends and families, wishing them a happy Eid. All children and young people wear new clothes and receive new presents (toys and money).

 

Date: 3 days after end of Ramadan (date shifts with lunar calendar)


Description:

Eid Al Adh'a (The Sacrificial Feast): the second most important feast is the sacrificial feast, which comes after the Haj or pilgrimage.

 

Date: 4 days after end of Haj (pilgrimage): date shifts with lunar calendar.
 

Festivals

 


Ghadames International Festival

is normally held in October, but dates  can vary each year. In 2006, for example, the Festival was held in the month of November. It is a colourful event in which people gather to feast, sing and dance. A celebration of local Tuareg culture and traditions. The festival is expected to start with an opening ceremony on the first day; followed by exhibitions of traditional industries on the second day and then music and dance shows at night. The third day would include Mehari races and introduction to Tuareg life.  However, the festival is mainly held by the residents of the old city, who appear to have an issue with the Tuareg living outside the city. The Tuareg then went on to set up their own festival, named the Tuareg Festival, which will be held on the 2nd of September. This means that there are two festivals in Ghadames.

berber wall designs

Date:

2011


October 2011: (next year)

For the first time in the festival's history the organisers  have announced the dates for the next 15th festival. On the closing day of this year's festival (the 24th of October 2010) the organisers have announced that next year's festival will be held on the:

14th of October 2011
15th of October 2011
16th of October 2011

This is the first time that we have the future dates confirmed at the closing day of the festival, and hopefully the confusion is over, for good. However, 2011 proved to be different too, as Libya was plunged into war, and so the festival never took place.

 


Date:

2010


October 2010:

The latest confirmed information we have regarding the Ghadames Festival this year (2010) states that the festival will be held between the 22nd and the 24th of October 2010:

22/10/2010
23/10/2010
24/10/2010

Temehu shall not be held responsible for any loss or inconvenience as a result of this published data. We are trying to keep up with the constantly changing dates and our information is hereby given to the best of our knowledge. It would be very convenient if the festival organisers stick to one fixed date every year, but unfortunately it seems that they like messing up the dates every single year.

 

   


Date:

2009


October 2009:

There are conflicting reports regarding the dates for this year's festival in Ghadames. In addition to the 17th of October and  the 23rd of October, we were given an earlier date by the organisation in charge of Ghadames Festival. They say the festival will be held on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th of October 2009, and that they will be able to confirm the dates two or three weeks before the event. Please return to this page around that time for the latest.

So it looks like this:

Tuareg Festival: 02/09/2009
Ghadames Festival: 01/10/2009


Update

26 July 2009

 

 


The latest information
we have about Ghadames Festival(s):

  • A one-day private festival by the sand dunes on 02/09/2009
  • The Tuareg Festival on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of October (2,3,4/10/2009)
  • The original Ghadames Festival on the 23rd, 24th, 25th of October (23,24,25/10/2009)


Update

22 September 2009

 

 

We have been informed by the organisers of Ghadames festival that the dates for the main festival have been moved forward to: 29th,30th and 31st of October 2009. Please note that we are providing this update as is and we are not responsible for its accuracy.

The latest information we have:

29th,30th and 31st of October 2009. (29,30,31/10/2009)

 

 

 

ghadames festival  adults dancing on stage

 

ghadames festival  adults dancing on stage

 


 

 

Ghat Festival

Description:

Ghat is a Tuareg oasis, situated in southern Libya, very close to Algeria and Niger. The Ghat Tourist Festival is normally held near the end of December (29 to 31 December), and lasts for three days. It is an important festival where Tuareg tribes from Libya, Algeria and Niger, and tourists, meet and celebrate the Tuareg traditional culture, folklore and heritage and explore handicraft exhibitions of traditional industries.

The Tuareg's best travel companion, the camel, plays an important role in the festival. A unique opportunity to experience the Tuareg way of life and find out about this enigmatic people.

The first Ghat festival was held on the 30th of December 1994.  

 

Date: 29, 30, 31 of December

 

Update:

 

New Date: November 2010:

The head of the Ghat Festival Committee has announced that the Ghat festival will now take place in the month of November. The reason for the change was that a number of students participate in this cultural festival and that the old date coincides with their exams.

 

 

 

Germa Arts, Heritage and Tourism Festival

 

Description:

The Germa Arts, Heritage and Tourism Festival is normally held in the month of February, and is organised by Wadi el-Hayat Municipality.

 

Date: February
 

 

Nalut Spring Festival

Description:

Nalut Spring Festival, as the name suggests, was established to revive and promote the local culture, traditions, industries and arts as part of Libya's sacred heritage. Nalut Spring Festival is normally held in late March (29th of March), and lasts for 3 days. The festival begins with lighting a flame and the opening ceremony, followed by a parade of local schools and folk groups, before various performers entertain the guests with traditional music and dance at night.

The first Nalut Festival took place in 1975, but then the event seemed to attract the enmity of the government as they accused the Berbers of "separatism" and all that, and therefore the second Nalut Festival scheduled for 1976 never took place until 2005. The Arab media station Alhurra Channel hailed the event as a new beginning for the Berbers under Gaddafi's government and remarked that what before attracted the death penalty has become a public event in which the Berbers celebrated their Tamazight culture without any fear of persecution.

Being on the main route to Ghadames the festival has attracted a number of foreign visitors and tourists, in their way to the desert sites of Acacus and Waw Nnamous, and in fact the festival became so popular that many tourists come to Libya specifically to visit the festival, as they did visit the Berber festivals of Ghat and Ghadames. The following video shows Alhurra's coverage of the festival.

 

 

The Goals of Nalut Festival

  • Presenting the traditional Berber heritage of Nalut and Nafousa Mountain.
  • Encouraging local voluntary work among the young generation.
  • Preserving and restoring the Berber archaeological sites of Nalut.
  • Reviving the native Libyan culture and engaging the new generations to participate in preserving Berber culture.
  • Encouraging and promoting local tourism.
  • Work towards establishing an International festival to attract tourists from around the world.
  • Encouraging the revival and preservation of traditional Berber industries and crafts.

 

 

Date: March (around the 29th of the month).
 

 

Tripoli International Tourism Expo

Description:

The first Tripoli International Tourism Expo (T.I.T.E.) will be held in Tripoli from 12th - 15th of May 2008.

 

Date: 12 May
 

 

Zuwarah Awessu Festival

Description:

Awessu was originally a sea ceremony held in the town of Zuwarah, in west Libya, probably in association with Sea-wroship. The Berbers of Zuwara take into the sea, before sunrise, purify themselves, their animals, their wool garments and blankets, and release some of the accumilated sins into the salt. Then leave the sea and feast by the beach for the remaining of the day.

The festival has become a commercial festival, where the purpose of the ceremony has disappeared and was replaced by a music festival, which sometimes takes place, and at other times it does not.

 

Zuwara full moon by the sea, Libya.

 

For more information about this, see our Zuwarah page.

 

Date: August
 

 

Derj (Daraj) Tourist Festival

Description:

Derj Tourist Festival for Arts and Heritage is normally held in the month of September, and is organised by the Ghadames Municipality.

 

Daraj Festival

Derj Tourist Festival for Arts and Heritage is normally held in the month of September, and is organised by the Ghadames Municipality. But in 2008 the festival was held in the month of December. The festival feature shows of traditional music, traditional crafts and exhibits of local culture and heritage.

 

Please visit the Derj Festival website for more information (in Arabic):  seederg.com

 

Date: usually in September: (but in 2008, the festival was held during the middle of December).
 

 

Date Harvest Festivals

Description:

Date Harvest Festivals are held in various parts of Libya during the month of October.

 

Date: October
 

 

Kabaw el-Gaser Tourist Festival

Description:

el-Gaser Tourist Festival is normally held in the month of October, in Kabaw, Nafousa Mountain.

 

Date: October
 

 

The Green Mountain International Tourist Festival

Description:

The al-Jabel al-Akhdar International Tourist Festival is normally held in the month of October, in Shahhat (Cyrene).

 

Date: October
 

 

African Tuareg Sahara Festivals

Other Sahara Festivals

 

Festival In The Desert

Description:

The Festival in the Desert began in 2001 after Tuareg fighters abandoned their guns for the guitar. The festival is a 3 day international music event, celebrating Tuareg culture and way of life. The festival takes place in Mali. Most of the festival's attendees are Tuareg nomads who arrive on their dignified camels from all over the Sahara. A truly fantastic opportunity to hear and experience Berber music at its best. The festival comprises about 45 acts, embodying traditional and contemporary music from all over Mali and from neighbouring countries, like Niger and Mauritania.

Visit official website: festival-au-desert.org

 

Date: 5-11 January 2009
Date: 7, 8, 9 January 2010
 

 

Festival On The Niger

Description:

Festival on the Niger is a unique 4-day music festival, which will be held in Segou, by the banks of the River Niger, also in Mali, at the end of January 2009. Segou is the capital of the ancient Bambara kingdom, and is the region of traditional music and dance. The festival program features traditional and contemporary music, dance, tales, legends, masks, huge puppets, traditional crafts expositions, and sculpture and jewellery. The theme of the festival this year is " Environmental Solutions ".

Visit official website: festivalsegou.org

 

Date: January 29 - February 1, 2009.
 

 

International Festival of the Sahara at Douz

Description:

The International Festival of the Sahara at Douz, in Tunisia, is a 4-day music and dance festival, celebrating the culture of desert at the heart of the Tunisian sahara, in the small Berber oasis town of Douz, where palm trees outnumber humans by 25 to 1. The activities include horse races, camel fights, rabbit chases, a visit to Douz Museum, sand skiing, go-karting, balloon rides and shopping in the local traditional market.

Visit official website: festivaldouz.org.tn

 

Date: 25-28 December (as of 2008): the dates change to avoid clashing with Ramadan.
 

 

 

Arab and International Anniversaries

arab and international anniversaries and national holidays