Christmas is one of the most important holidays celebrated in Lebanon. The whole country celebrates the birth of Jesus.
During the month of December, decorations of all kinds are put up in houses, offices, streets, and malls. Celebrations and shows are organized in the city. It is the busiest time of the year in Beirut.
It all comes together on the 24th of the month. Family gatherings take place on this day and a huge (really, huge) feast is prepared while churches ring the bells!
You can change your home decoration each year, but they are things that cannot be changed at gatherings such as this one! Here are a list of things you expect to find (and most probably will find) at a Lebanese Christmas Eve celebration.
#1 Christmas Songs
From Petit Papa Noêl to Jingle Bells and Laylit Eid, all members of the family enjoy Christmas songs… and, when the wine hits, you will witness some awkward dancing!
Brace yourself for the degustation of some very old fine Lebanese red wine proudly presented to you by your aunt’s husband!
#3 Christmas decoration
Lights, mistletoes, and miniature Santas are found – starting from the front door to the living area, the dining table, and maybe in the kitchen and bedrooms too.
When you hear his bell ringing outside, you know Santa is here. You start investigating which member of your family is in disguise – discreetly so the kids won’t notice. At your surprise, you discover that this is a hired Santa!
#5 A big crowd
Especially when Santa arrives, you will notice how crowded it got in that house.
Expect to gain weight. All kinds of Lebanese dishes and sweets are prepared and offered at this event. The big Christmas dinner, with almost always the traditional stuffed turkey as the main dish, ends with the famous Buche De Noêl and Meghleh – which is a Lebanese delicacy made when a child is born.
#7 Your party animal cousin
We all have that cousin who can’t stop clubbing. You will find him sitting on that table, stuffing his face, and impatiently waiting for the clock to hit twelve so he can run into the night.
#8 A photo shoot in the hallway
This kind of celebration is all about making memories. Photographers are what will remain from this evening (and of course your fashionista cousin posing in her new clothes!).
#9 A tipsy family member asleep
Come on we’ve all witnessed it!
#10 Your grandfather sharing his wisdom
The elderly have always some interesting stories to share, especially when all the family is reunited!
#10 Midnight mass
When the clock strikes midnight, the tolling bells remind us that Baby Jesus is born. Expect to rush to your parish church to participate in the wonderful celebration welcoming our savior.