Customs and traditions
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.
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
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 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.
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
About our sources
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.