Christmas in Lebanon – The Maronite Catholics Country

Unlike the majority of countries in the Middle East, Christmas in Lebanon is an official holiday.

Both Christian and Muslim Lebanese celebrate this day with vigor, which is accomplished through decorations, Christmas feasts, nativity cribs, dance and bonfires as a sign of renewal of friendship.

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Christmas Embellishments

You’re bound to experience the Christmas cheer the moment you step foot into the capital city of Beirut; the entire country, particularly houses, streets, and city squares are enveloped in the aura of festivity.

The Lebanese decorate their country with adornments that include flickering lights, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes.

Nativity Cribs

Unlike in most countries where nativity scenes are based on a stable, the Lebanese create nativity cribs founded on a cave.

These cribs are adorned with sprouted seeds like lentils, wheat, oats, and chickpeas that have been carefully nurtured in damp cotton wool in the weeks preceding Christmas.

Nativity scenes serve the all-important purpose of recreating the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.

These scenes consist of figurines of Joseph, Mary, the kings, and shepherds; the cribs are essentially the focus of prayer for the home’s occupants.

Christmas Cuties

The Christmas Feast

In the days preceding Christmas, the Lebanese devour a conventional Christmas meal comprised of roasted duck, turkey, pastries like Buche De Noel and Honey cake, as well as a native salad known as Tabouleh.

Christmas lunch is the most important meal for the Lebanese Christians.

The entire family gathers in the home of the eldest male, whether it’s a grandfather or the eldest son to revel in a sumptuous meal consisting of meat, veggies, and fruits.

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The Christmas feast in Lebanon cannot be complete without consuming chicken, rice and Kubbeh—a meal consisting of wheat or burghul combined with pepper, meat, salt, and onion. 

In the event that a child is born during the Christmas season, the family will celebrate by preparing a special meal known as Mughly.

This is basically a pudding topped with crushed almonds and walnuts, or even peanuts; this is served to the family members and those visiting the newborn.

Christmas Dance

The Lebanese will also engage in a traditional Christmas dance known as Dabke. This is performed by family and friends while holding hands in a circle or semicircle.

Dabke entails stamping feet in time to native tunes and rhythms produced through darbouka—a traditional percussion instrument. 

dabke in lebanon

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Main Points About Christmas in Lebanon

  1. In Lebanon, nativity scenes take more prominence than any other form of Christmas decoration.
  2. At Christmas time, many youngsters party with friends loved ones and there are lots of merriment.
  3. The midnight church service is very popular in Lebanon.  Many Lebanese catholic attend with veneration.
  4. The ‘dabkeh’ is still a well-celebrated tradition. It is a dance where people hold hands to form a circle and stamp to native tunes.
  5. Whether it is on Christmas eve or Christmas, the common meals eaten include kibbeh pie, minced meats, turkey or chicken, rice, warm yogurt sauce, beet, salad, lamb, and lots more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Lebanon

  1. What is there to do in Lebanon at Christmas?

    One can go to the Christmas village of Arnaoon. The other options to watch a Christmas movie in the theatre. One can also take a selfie in front of the ABC Ashrafieh's Christmas tree.

  2. How do you say Merry Christmas in Lebanon?

    In Lebanon most people speak Arabic, so Happy/Merry Christmas is Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد) which means 'Glorious Birth Feast' or you could say Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair which means 'may every year find you in good health'. French is also spoken so you could wish people Joyeux Noël.

  3. What is the favorite food at Christmas in Lebanon?

    The traditional food which is consumed on Christmas eve includes a turkey along with some mashed potatoes. Also, a lot of baked vegetables along with turnip is also consumed. In the desserts, Apple or pumpkin Pie is the most common to be consumed.

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Conclusion

The Christmas season in Lebanon marks the temporary cessation of political rivalry and the Lebanese focus on creating merry and renewing friendship.

While Christmas mass remains a tradition in Lebanon, the Lebanese celebrate this season in such a secular manner that everyone is enticed to join in. People in Lebanon wish each other Merry Christmas as Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد).

Some people who speak French would say Joyeux Noël. You should also check a list of all countries and how people in those countries wish Merry Christmas to each other.

Word Cloud for Christmas in Lebanon

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Lebanon. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in Lebanon

References

  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-we-celebrate-christmas-in-lebanon-christmas-around-the-world-198480
  2. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-christmas-season-lebanon/christmas-in-lebanon-not-so-merry-as-economic-crisis-bites-idUSKBN1YQ08I
  3. http://www.indobase.com/holidays/christmas/world/christmas-in-lebanon.html