Traditions and customs Lebanon

Traditions and customs Lebanon

Religious communities

Lebanon is a multi-faith country, made of 17 religious communities recognized:

  • 13 Christians including 6 attached to Rome;
  • 4 Muslim or from Islam.

Their distribution is roughly as follows:

  • Muslims: 60%
  • Christians: 40%
  • Shiites: 30%
  • Maronites: 25%
  • Sunnis: 23%
  • Greek and Catholic churches: 13%
  • Druze: 7%
  • Converted to the Armenian Church: 2%

In communities Muslims, we distinguish: Sunnis and Shiites.
In communities from Islam : the Druze and the Alaouites (Nousairy).
- communities Catholic Christians include: Maronites, Greek Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Syriac Catholics, Latins, Chaldeans and Copts.
- communities non-Catholic Christians include: Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syriac Monophysites, Assyrians, Protestants, and Orthodox Copts.

Holidays and public holidays

Most of the public holidays correspond to religious festivals, in abundance, due to the number of communities present in Lebanon.

- 1er January: New Year.
- 9 February: Saint-Maron.
- Good Friday : Catholic and Orthodox (two dates).
- Easter Monday : Catholic and Orthodox (two dates).
- April 18: Qana Day, commemoration of the Qana massacre in 1966 (107 Lebanese civilians were killed by Israeli shells in a UN camp).
- May 1: labor Day.
- 6 may: feast of the Martyrs.
- 25 may: Festival of the Resistance and the Liberation.
- 15 August feast of the Virgin.
- November, 1st : Toussaint.
- November 22: Lebanon Independence Day.
- 25 December: Christmas.

Islamic celebrations

Major Islamic celebrations follow the Hijra lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the Western calendar. Islamic holidays therefore fall 11 days earlier each year. Among the most important are:

- Ras as-Sana: New Year.
- Achoura, a day of public prayer observed by Shia Muslims to commemorate the assassination of Muhammad's grandson.
- The fasting month of Ramadan.
- Eid al-Fitr: feast during which the fast is broken. It marks the end of Ramadan.
- Id al-Mawled: birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
- Eid al-Adha: 3 days after the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Crafts in Lebanon

Lebanon has managed to preserve a heritage of craftsmanship and popular arts that dates back as far as its history. Among the know-how, we find:

- woodworking with sculpture, engraving, marquetry and Nabati embroidery the art of copper jewelry with the technique of filigree foudda mshabké, silversmith's work (gold, silver or copper) openwork or in the shape of untied and welded nets pottery weaving, with the production of wall tapestries as well as clothing (multicolored jackets and traditional abayas) in cotton, wool and silk glassware with the technique of blown glass.


After a good lunch or a good meal, the guests sit around the hookah and take turns sharing the flavors. Of Indian origin, the hookah was adopted by the Chinese who used it to smoke opium in their famous water pipes. Subsequently, the Persians, then the Turks adopted and transformed it to give it its current form.

It is an oriental pipe with a long flexible pipe in which the smoke passes through a glass foot filled with water before being inhaled. The upper part of the hookah ends with a small, hollow container, the bottom of which has several holes. It is in this that we put tobacco mixed with Massâal honey which can be flavored with different aromas (apple, melon, mint, fruit cocktail…). Insiders prefer pure tobacco from Iran, Ajami.

Know-how and customs

- Clothing outfits: in a generally Muslim context, women will avoid outfits that leave their legs and shoulders uncovered. For a man, it is best not to shake the hand of a Muslim woman, especially if she is a little old: contact is not allowed by Islam (and especially not the kiss). Salvation is then done by placing the right hand on the heart.

- Invitations: the Lebanese willingly invite. It is also the custom to offer coffee or tea in the shops. Do not be surprised and indulge in the pleasure of this sociability.

- Photos: the Lebanese are very welcoming and warm, nevertheless it would be preferable not to photograph the population if they are not consenting.

- Sensitive subject : Israel.

Audio Video Traditions and customs Lebanon
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