Every year, Lebanese people celebrate Eid El Berbara which is a holiday dedicated to Saint Barbara. On this day, kids wear costumes, go trick-or-treating, and eat Lebanese sweets such as maakroun and qatayef.
But who is Barbara?
Born in Phoenicia, more precisely in Baalbek, Barbara was the daughter of a wealthy pagan called Dioscorus. Her father became obsessed with protecting her after his wife passed away. So, he locked her in a tower, and she was only allowed to accept visits from her pagan instructors. She took her free time as an opportunity to observe the world and to contemplate it. Barbara soon realized that she was not convinced of paganism. She decided to offer herself to the Lord and to remain a virgin for the rest of her life. Dioscorus allowed her to leave the tower after she refused to marry all the men that he presented to her. He hoped that this would change her attitude. However, Barbara took that as an opportunity to meet other Christians. She eventually got baptized and informed her father that she converted to Christianity. Full of rage, her father ran after her with a sword. She disguised herself to elude him. After she got caught and locked up in a room, the prefect of the city beat her up so that she renounces her faith, but she didn’t. On December 4, Barbara was beheaded by her father. She became a saint and a martyr. This day is celebrated not only in Lebanon but also in Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Before, kids used to disguise themselves with whatever they could find at home. However, things have changed and this holiday has been affected a lot by Halloween. It would be nice to see kids making their costumes again!