Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Lebanon has for a long time been closely associated with Europe, mainly France, and is strongly influenced by Western culture. But there are also a number of traditional values and characteristics that remain. Customs and customs vary greatly between the religious and cultural groups living in the country.
Personal relationships are put in the first room. If it means breaking a schedule and arriving a little late for a private meeting, it is not considered so serious. Punctuality, on the other hand, applies at business meetings. Usually the meeting starts with coffee or tea and you talk a little. It is important to build trust.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Lebanon, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Great emphasis is placed on the greeting. Handshake with eye contact and a big smile is the most common way to health. Often the handshake is a little longer than in Europe. The greeting phrase is “Marhaba”. It is important not to be in a hurry. A little small talk and questions about family and health are important.
Among some believing Muslims, women and men do not shake hands with each other. If no hand is extended, you can instead nod as a greeting.
If someone is presented with a title, you use the title when greeting. If it is a title in Arabic it is said before the first name, if it is a title in English or French it is used in conjunction with the last name. First, greet the elders. Close friends often greet each other with three cheek kisses.
Direct eye contact and a lot of physical contact are important when talking. Eye contact conveys trust and honesty. But this does not apply in conversations between men and women. Western women in particular should be careful about physical contact and eye contact with men. It can be perceived as an invitation.
In conversations, you are happy to express yourself indirectly and try to avoid confrontation. It is important that all parties in a conversation can maintain their pride. No one wants to lose face. Body language and small nuances are important for understanding what is being said.
Usually Lebanese try not to shower in public – it is seen as a weak trait of not being able to hold the mine. You try to be polite and expect the same from others. But if you feel that your own pride has been hurt or challenged, you can raise your voice and gesticulate as a way to restore your honor.
Honor is a central concept. The Lebanese often make every effort not to hurt or damage another person’s honor, reputation and pride. Offending someone is considered very serious. It can sometimes be enough to express yourself directly for someone to perceive it as an insult. An overly direct, confrontational speech should therefore be avoided.
Often, you say yes to helping with services, even though you know it is impossible, just to avoid hurting the other. This kind of promise can thus be a little flexible. Therefore, do not expect all expressions of will to be realized.
It’s pointless to point at people, and you should never hut your fist. It is also impolite to point the soles of the feet to any person. They should always be facing the floor. Showing affection in public is not appropriate, nor when it comes to married couples. Avoid speaking derogatory about any religion. Blasphemy is punishable by up to one year in prison.
Gifts and clothing
Gifts are an important part of the culture and are not just given on birthdays or special occasions. What the gift costs is not so important, it is more symbolism that plays a role. Giving gifts is a sign of friendship. Anyone who is invited home by someone often brings flowers, a dessert or sweets. Alcohol is often a prized gift, but not for Muslims who do not drink alcohol. Candy for the kids is always appreciated. Gifts are given with your right hand, or with both hands. Avoid giving gifts with your left hand.
In the cities, all Christians and most Muslims wear Western-cut clothes. In the country, women sometimes wear traditional, colorful blouses and men wear trousers. Some women wear a veil. It is important to be whole, clean and well-dressed. In business, people dress conservatively.
Lebanese are proud of their hospitality. You see it as an honor to have guests. Therefore, do not be surprised if you are quickly invited to dinner in a Lebanese home. It is important to be well dressed.
Often, tea or coffee is served directly and is expected to accept yes. A no can be seen as an insult. The guest stands up until the host asks you to sit.
The meals often consist of several dishes and you are expected to taste them all. Often, you are asked to retake, both once and twice, and the host is pleased if you accept yes. If you refuse no, the host often thinks that it is courtesy and is happy to threaten. Table condition is important. Be careful about sensitive topics of conversation, such as politics, religion or civil war, if you do not know the values. It is also not considered appropriate to talk business during dinner.
The lunch is the main meal of the day and is eaten between 12 and 15 o’clock. The lunch often lasts a few hours. Dinner guests are expected to stay all evening. It is considered very unpleasant to go directly after the food.
The meal is an important family affair. You rarely eat alone, and you often go out to a restaurant in large parties. The food is often tasty. Pita bread and chickpea (hummus) are the mainstay of the diet. Rice and pasta are also common, as is salt yogurt. Many dishes are vegetarian, but the main meal almost always includes chicken, meat or fish. Muslims do not normally eat pork.
When it is a party, you are happy to eat mezzeh – a variety of light meals. Kibbeh is a beef mince roll that can be cooked in different ways. Tabbouleh is a popular Bulgarian salad with parsley and mint.
During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, great meals are served when the sun goes down. Soup, fatteh (a dish with chickpeas and yogurt) and carbouj (beef cake) are best eaten during the Ramadan.
The Christians avoid all animal kingdom products during their fasting period.
Traditions and holidays
The number of official holidays is high in Lebanon as both Muslim and Christian holidays are counted. The most important national holiday is Independence Day on November 22, when the celebration of the liberation from France is celebrated in 1943. The celebrations include May 1 and Martyrs Day, May 6.
Both Christians and Muslims celebrate the New Year with festivities and games that are said to predict the future. According to tradition, the children receive money from their father at the New Year.
According to Countryaah, the Christians celebrate Easter, all Saints’ Day and Christmas. The Christmas celebration begins on December 4, when the children get dressed and beg candy from the neighbors. The shops are decorated in a western way before Christmas. At sunset on December 24, fasting begins and you are preparing for the midnight mass. Then you gather in the family and celebrate together.
Also the Orthodox Armenian Christmas, on the thirteenth day (January 6), is now a holiday. Many Christians, but not Protestants, celebrate the ascension of the Virgin Mary on August 15. The Maronites are celebrating St. Maron on February 9.
The dates of the Muslim holidays vary as they follow the lunar calendar. Important holidays are id al-fitr, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan, and id al-adha, which is the sacrificial holiday in remembrance of Abraham being ready to sacrifice his own son.
Ashura is celebrated by Shi’a Muslims who mourn the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein ibn Ali in the battle in Karbala. Sunni Muslims celebrate ashura for two reasons: God saved Moses from the Egyptians and this day Noah was able to leave his ark. Sunni Muslims are fasting on ashura.
Sunni Muslims also celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.
Lebanon and Syria establish diplomatic relations.
Terrorist attack in Tripoli
President Suleiman will travel to Damascus in August to normalize relations between the countries (see Foreign Policy). On the same day, 15 people were killed by an explosive charge in Tripoli; one of the most serious terrorist attacks in Lebanon following the 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri.
Government and opposition agree on agreements
After negotiations at the Arab League headquarters in Qatar’s capital Doha, the government side and the opposition sign an agreement to resolve the 18-month political deadlock. The parties agreed on the design of a new electoral law and on forming a national unity government that gives the opposition 11 of the 30 seats enough to stop decisions. The Doha agreement means that after 19 postponements, Parliament can elect former army chief Michel Suleiman as president, which will take place on May 25.
Senior Muslim leader dead
One of Hezbollah’s top leaders was killed in mid-February by a car bomb in Damascus. Hezbollah accuses Israel of being behind the murder. The dead are described, among other things, as the movement’s military commander and leader of special operations. He was on the US, EU and Israel lists of the most wanted terrorists, and is believed to have been the brain behind several of the most talked about bomb attacks against, among other things, US targets in Lebanon in the 1980s, kidnappings of Westerners and a few hijackings.. At that time, he belonged to the then Islamic Jihad group, backed by Iran and close to Hezbollah.