Imilchil Wedding Festival

Morocco's very own Romeo and Juliet story is the inspiration for this tribal marriage festival in Imilchil, at which up to 40 couples tie the knot while Berber tribes dance and give impromptu musical performances.

The legend goes that a man and a woman from two local tribes fell in love but were forbidden to marry by their families. They cried themselves to death, creating the neighbouring lakes of Issly (his) and Tisslit (hers) near Imilchil, which are just a 20-minute walk apart. So stricken were their families that they established a day - on the anniversary of the lovers' death - on which members of the two tribes could marry each other. The Imilchil Marriage Festival was born.

More prosaically, the event serves a purpose by enabling otherwise disparate tribes to meet and find partners - nature's way of widening the gene pool. Berber women are entitled to divorce and remarry and the market is now essentially made up of widows and divorcees seeking a new husband.

According to protocol, women are made up by their families in traditional dress, and their single status is identifiable by their pointed-head apparel. Potential husbands then browse the goods on offer, egged on by their friends, before settling on a potential match. The women families still play a crucial role, in determining whether or not the suitor is appropriate - if his application is unwanted, a broken handshake indicates he should move on. If, on the other hand, he is successful, his bride-to-be will say the immortal words: "You have captured my liver" and the match will be settled.