A Touch of Culture – Christmas in Lebanon
Christmas is a highly anticipated event in Lebanon. Like in Britain, we look forward to setting up the nativity and opening presents on Christmas morning. Although most features of Christmas are identical to the British festivities, there are some things that we do differently. Head down to Maison du Mezze to experience Christmas the Lebanese way.
Like in Britain, Christmas is a family day – and relatives get together from all over the country to celebrate. You will usually see families feasting on fine mezze platters, delicately sugared nuts, fresh dates alongside a sweet coffee liquor. This meal is probably one of the most filling and rich in the Middle East and Asia owing to buttered meats and rich fruits, and equally could be one of the tastiest. The main course is centred on a large chicken and spicy rice with infused vegetabels; this is accompanied by a delicious kubbeh – made up of boiled broken wheat and different meats flavoured in garlic, pepper, and salt. If you want to experience the taste of the Middle East this Christmas, head down to Maison du Mezze for a delicious Arab experience.
Unlike in Britain where we generally leave the nativity crib for the local church, or a small designated portion of a windowsill, the Lebanese take it incredibly seriously. We take the nativity as seriously as the Brits take the Christmas tree, and vice-versa. The tradition stems back to dwellers and farmers sowing chickpea and lentils on cotton wool (instead of soil) around November. By the time Christmas arrived there would be a small bud. Plants and shoots will be around 6”, which would then be used to decorate the nativity.
The Stamping of The Feet
At larger gatherings, this spectacle can be seen. Dabkeh, who’s etymology quite literally leads back to the definition in the title, is a traditional Lebanese dance.
The dance begins with a line of people holding hands, the person at the front, with their free hand will hold something to flail around – usually a handkerchief. They lead the dance and perform an incredible routine of dropping to the floor to the beat of the drum. When he does so, those in the line follow.
To see some fantastic examples, (we highly recommend) you check out this link.
If you want to experience some of what Lebanon and our fantastic cultural history has to offer this Christmas, book into Maison du Mezze. Organise a lovely day out for your family and enjoy all Lebanon has to offer at 14 Leicester Square. We will give you a taste of the Middle East right on your doorstep. Book online here.