Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Joyeux Noel" (French), "I'D Miilad Said Oua Sana Saida" (Arabic)
Location: Middle East
Tree Type: Non-Traditional / Non-Cultural
- The decorations are white to convey the hope for peace in their land.
About two weeks before Christmas the Lebanese plant seeds such as chickpeas, wheat grains, beans and lentils in cotton wool. They water the seeds every day and by Christmas the seeds have shoots about 6 inches in height. People use the shoots to surround the manger in nativity scenes. Nativity figures are made from brown paper. A star is placed above the Nativity scene.
Lebanon is the only mid eastern country that celebrates Christmas as an official holiday. On Christmas Eve the family attends midnight mass. Papa Noel either drops gifts off at church or he makes a personal appearance at the home. The gifts for the children consist of candy and clothes. On Christmas Day a holiday dinner of turkey, roast duck Lebanese salad (Tabouleh) and pastries such as a honey cake (Baklava) or Buche de Noel is served.
Traditionally people visit friends on Christmas morning and are offered coffee, liqueurs and sugared almonds. Lunch at Christmas is the most important meal of the season and the whole family gathers together for it, usually at grandparents or the eldest son's home. The meal consists of chicken and rice, and crushed boiled wheat (bulghur) mixed with meat, onion, salt and pepper (Kubbeh). On New Years day the Lebanese people open their houses for relatives and friends to visit.