Every year, colors, music, and floaters roam the streets of São Paulo on the 22nd of February, welcoming the onset of Lent. Seven dance schools opened the parade of São Paulo Carnival. This year, there was a very special tribute to Lebanon.
Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy this parade every year; it is one of the biggest public shows in the world and one that is most awaited by all.
This year was special for the Lebanese community in Sao Paolo and in Brazil in general, but also for us in Lebanon to witness one of the most fascinating tributes ever given to our nation, our history, and our origin.
We certainly expected our flag and emblem to be carried by so many and taking a special spot miles away across the oceans, and the dabke, and the folkloric outfits…
However, we did not expect the extravaganza with which Lebanon was introduced to the Brazilians and the world, nor the tremendous efforts dedicated to it, and the meaningful presentation recounting a cultural heritage that roots so far back in time.
The directors of the Império De Casa Verde dance school had indeed promised a surprise when the ‘Lebanese group’ would appear, yet that was beyond surprising.
Over 2200 members and 100 Lebanese guests participated in paying a special tribute to Lebanon with a 1-hour parade called “Marhaba Lubnãn.”
The Lebanese culture was represented with Brazilian flavors. Thousands of musicians, Dabke dancers, belly dancers, and folk dancers participated to make this splendid tribute to Lebanon.
As promised, hundreds of Lebanese flags fluttered the parade. Floaters filled the streets with all kinds of Lebanese references with the Lebanese flag everywhere.
Lebanon’s representation in Brazil was not one to be missed. As the lyrics of the song parade said, “The hearts of both nations pulsed together” and that was felt all throughout that 1-hour brilliantly depicting the Lebanese culture and history.
Lebanon’s presentation encompassed a magnificent parade of the Lebanese-Brazilians’ ancestry rooting in the Mediterranian sea all throughout history to today’s Lebanon.
It started with an awe-striking presentation of the Phoenicians and their “Maritime Empire” followed by the various civilizations that had settled once in our country, all in magnificent outfits and related symbols.
Although Brazilians are used to extravagant shows in their carnivals, the news reporters were excitedly conveying about Lebanon and explaining the scenes like if out of this world, praising Lebanon on the go.
An open-wing massive automobile depicting “The Maritime Empire” made a sensation. It portrayed the Mediterranean (Phoenician) Sea, which was believed to be the entryway to Lebanon.
Most importantly, it was a tribute to our Phoenician ancestors that had dominated the regional maritime for 6000 years; a pacific empire of trade and of the spreading of their skills and knowledge.
In that, the Lebanese were depicted in the beautiful scenery and the song as “Guardians of the Sea” and also as “Guardians of the Promised Land,” as explained live on TV during the parade.
A popular band sang for ‘Libano’ all along at the rhythm of Brazilian upbeats. You could hear “Libano” so many times, not only sang but also from the exited reporters and some of these descendants of ours sending warm messages to Lebanon.
Our common Phoenician ancestry was represented with its own special floater depicting the origin of the Lebanese nation.
The blue of our sea was predominant, but also a green parade reflecting one of Lebanon’s old labels: “Lubnan El-Akhdar.” The purple color of the Phoenicians had also its place in the parade, among others.
Various meaningful scenes were presented throughout. From the Lebanese souks to the Beaufort Castle in Nabatieh, the Phoenician alphabet, and the legend of the Phoenix, to those who had once settled in our land through history, like the Persians, Macedonians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Crusaders and so on; you would think you saw it all.
To the Brazilians and the world watching, that was a most fascinating historical recount of Lebanon’s cultural heritage and its impact on the world.
Never has a history “lesson” been so entertaining nor ever conveyed with so much pride. The music of the parade chanted the achievements and praised the character of the Lebanese ancestors and their descendants.
A parade of Lebanon’s today and its more recent era was certainly there. Hundreds of people wearing the Lebanese flag with our Green Cedar covering their chests, musicians with the Lebanese tarboush, Lebanese flags around, and the mood was fantastic.
It wasn’t a small representation by any measure. It was massive. 2200 dancers, 100 Lebanese guests, and Lebanese descendants participated in giving Lebanon the most fascinating and picturesque tribute of all times.
It’s heartwarming to witness how much love and hard work were dedicated to this presentation in tribute to Lebanon, and the pride of these descendants of Lebanon in their country of origin.
This is a meaningful passage of the song Marhaba Lubnãn that was chanted all through the parade: It comes from the hands of the creator, O cedar that history has preserved. Guardians of the Promised Land, reveal spells, the breath of life. Millenary nation, the sun does not hide.
May this be a reminder that we are a great millenary nation and probably the most persistent survivors; a nation that has always prevailed. And we will, once again, through these harsh times that our homeland is living today.