Happy New Year is what you are going to hear and see today while passing by people, scrolling through your social media, or chatting with your relatives. However, if you are Lebanese, you will hear and see different stuff; stuff that you've known for the past years, and you will always hear and see as long as you are Lebanese, aka forever.
#1 I haven't seen you since last year!
Yes, that's what every Lebanese tell his friends on January 1st. Oh, and he or she would say, " See you next year! " on December 31st. We always tend to start the new year with a joke or two. That's what we are: Happiest Depressed People on Earth.
#2 Bestraynteh a3lek!
The first day of the year is the day we compete who's going to say that magic term first to the other to win a Bestrayneh, any coin, any gift; mostly coins and money, to superstitiously bring ourselves a good fortune in the new year.
Well, yes, the tradition is there even if the one who loses gets away with just a smile of defeat followed by a hug and a Happy New Year.
Psst! This is an old French tradition taken from the ancient Roman "Strena" and infused in our culture by the influence of the French. From Etrennes to Bistrayneh, we made it ours.
#3 First time I take a shower this year
Are you even Lebanese if you haven't said this? You wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and think to yourself: "Sarle Sene Bala Hamem," or "First time I take a shower this year" or even text this to your friend. Different years, the same joke.
#4 I spent last night in Farshe Club
Familiar with Farshe Club? It's that club that almost every Lebanese goes to when he or she doesn't have a plan for New Year's eve. It's warm, cozy, and feels like home. Is it home-away-from-home or home? Nobody knows. This year, that Mattress Club is expected to be full, as we're all broke, so make sure to reserve your place!
#5 Yen3ad a3lek, InchAllah - May the year reiterate for you
Basically: Happy Returns, with no such mention of "happy."
Okay, we might not want to hear it this year, with all the hardships we lived in 2019, we really don't want any reiteration of the past year. But we will still say it and we will still hear it. We ought to clear our neurological patterns this year, people!
#6 I have been on the WC for a year
Sit on the WC at 11:59 pm, get up at 12:01 am, and say that you have been on the WC for one year? Typical Lebanese attitude at New Year's Eve!
#7 I have been sleeping for a year
For the people that sleep before midnight and wake up after that, this is for you! You wake up surprised and disappointed that you missed your virtual New Year kiss, and say: " Sarle sene neyem"! Now, let's just hope that next year you will be awake at midnight, maybe you start your year with wide-open eyes.
#8 It has been a year since I last slept
There's always a person in each family who waits for the midnight to jokingly say that he or she hasn't been asleep in a year. If you are THAT person, cheers to more sleepless nights!
#9 We have been on the streets since last year
Well, now this is a new brand statement that you're going to hear. As we have been on the streets since October 17, 2019, we won't miss the opportunity to jokingly say that we have been there for a whole year. For the revolutionaries, you are Lebanon's only hope, Happy New Year!
#10 I've made a list with my 2020's goals
Now that's we call a recycled list. It's the same list you have made in 2019, 2018, and even 2015, just with a few changes. The list that, of course, contains "traveling, finding love, losing weight, saving money, making Lebanon a better place...."
The latter, however, might happen hopefully, so stay optimistic and don't lose hope in a better country.
#11 This year, I am going to hit the gym more often
This goal will also make it to the New Year's resolution list, but I thought it deserves a special reminder because we mostly reiterate it throughout the 1st day of the year: "I am going to hit the gym more often."We wondered about that in the past 365 days, and we will continue to do so in the coming 365 days; whether we do it or not.
#12 New Year, New Me
You will hear this statement every single year. It's like it's not a new year without the New Me. We always tend to change with a new beginning; we always seek to evolve, improve, and be something new, something fresh.
You don't need a new year to be someone new, you just need to wake up one day and say: "Today, I am going to change."