2008 News Archive - Holidays - Sale celebrates its pirate past

13 04 2007

The Moroccan town of Sale is to hold its traditional Wax Lantern Procession, the Mawkib Esh Shomouaa festival of lights, where it will celebrate its past incarnation of a pirate town.

To take place on April 22nd, the event honours Sidi Abdallah Ben Hassoun, the patron saint of travellers.

Visitors to the event will be entranced by the procession of sailors dressed up as pirates, toting sizable wax lanterns affixed to poles.

Many believe that the tradition dates back to the days of the Barbary Coast when Corsairs carried the lanterns to ask for protection before setting out on a voyage.

The Barbary Coast was how Europeans referred to the coasts of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, from where the notorious corsairs operated.

Corsairs were French, English and Arab pirates that terrorized the Mediterranean in the 18th and 19th centuries.

While Sale retains little of its old piratical romance, when the festival of lights takes place it is easy to be transported back into the buccaneering days of old.

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