This is what the Lebanese holidays are all about: the food! We have the specialties, like the one we make only on certain holidays, and the constants like Hummus, Tabbouleh, etc.
This Easter, there are many traditions we will miss out on due to social distancing measures, like the Easter Midnight Mass, and the early Sunday mass, the family lunch out, and all the friends and family visits that are enjoyed this time of the year.
But the feast is always gonna be there, in sickness and in health. So, families will be celebrating at home around a special lunch, even if the extended family members will be doing theirs in their homes.
And because these are not normal times, we’re starting with the desserts!
What is Lebanese Easter without Maamoul? Who cares about all the sugar sprinkled on top, diabetes, and body fat at this time. They don’t exist around Easter in Lebanon. These ‘cookies’ are usually filled with dates and nuts and come in different shapes and forms, and they are an absolute delight!
#2 Kaak b Halib
“Semsoum Aw Bala Semsoum?” (With or Without Sesame?) This is the most famous question during Easter in Lebanon. Kaak El Eid is exactly as it sounds, Kaak that is only made during holidays in Lebanon.
They come in two types: yeah, you guessed it, with and without sesame. This will be your breakfast for weeks and weeks to come (and your snack in between meals).
#3 Easter chocolate
These are what we live for. These are our childhood and our memories. Chocolate covered in colorful wrappers, shaped like little eggs, and served on a tray decorated with bunnies and more eggs. I don’t know about you, but the huge chocolate eggs are my all-time favorites.
#4 Baklawa and Petit-Fours
More sweets! Who would’ve thought? We’ll get to the real food soon, but these are all very important to mention. Baklawa is a classic during holidays in Lebanon, and also the petit-fours that Lebanese mothers start preparing and baking a week earlier. Have fun, but not too much fun because all the gyms are closed now, remember?
#5 Kibbeh in all its shapes and forms
Lebanese Kibbeh is not only food, but it is also a form of art. What kind of Kibbeh you prefer says a lot about who you are as a person and, on Easter, there’s bound to be every kind of Kibbeh ever discovered on the table.
Raw Kibbeh, Kibbeh Bel Saniyeh, Kibbet Batata, Kibbeh Zghartewiyeh, Kibbeh Laqtin (Pumpkin), fried Kibbeh, grilled Kibbeh, okay I should stop now.
#6 Rez a Djej & Masheweh
For most, Easter comes after a long period of fasting; there’s also another majority that doesn’t fast or cut meat out on weekends. Either way, big Lebanese lunches mean that Lebanon’s most famous dishes will be prepared, and the most famous of all is chicken with rice.
Masheweh will be present just because it’s Sunday. And Lebanese and Sunday, that means grill reigns!
The beauty of Lebanese Fatayer is that you never know what you’ll get, but you are fine with everything. Spinach, Meat, Labneh, Kechek, even hot dogs, each one is special in its own way. Bring them all, we don’t mind.
#8 The obvious: Fattouch
Not just any Fattouch, but the specially decorated Fattouch that has pomegranate in it. You can eat delicious Fattouch any day of the year, however, you only eat beautifully made, masterpiece Fattouch on special occasions like Easter.
#9 Wara2 Aarish/Enab
I don’t know what the Wara2 Aarish has to do with Easter, except that it makes people even happier on a special day like this one. The beauty of this dish is that you can make it with meat or vegetarian, and it is yummy either way.
It is usually either this or the Riz a Djej as a main dish, but how can a person decide? People hungry for chicken will have both, and who can blame them.
This is a lot, but it’s not everything. These are the highlights of every Lebanese Easter.