Who belongs where?
It is important to the Lebanese that they originally descended from the Phoenicians, a famous seafaring people. So you ask a Lebanese in Lebanon first of his name, but then also about where the family comes from. If someone says their name, the questioner knows a bit more, usually also whether someone is a Christian or a Muslim.
Many people had to move, sometimes of their own free will, sometimes not entirely voluntarily. Anyone who asks about a person’s roots in Lebanon means the place where someone originally comes from. It can be a region, but also a small village or a district in a large city. So you learn a lot without sounding outrageous and you also get to know the family and their background.
Hospitality towards strangers is very important in Lebanon. Anyone visiting a family during mealtime is invited to eat. You should try everything here.
Why do many Lebanese women put on so much make-up?
Lebanese women are very beauty conscious. The Miss Lebanon elections are an important event in Lebanon that the whole family wants to see. Very few women take to the streets without make-up. This is especially true of women in the cities. There is also a lot of advertising for beauty doctors, especially in Beirut. In the country you don’t have that much time to care for your beauty and you don’t always have to be that perfect.
Appearance is very important in Lebanese society. Incidentally, this applies to all women, regardless of their religious affiliation. Even during the war there was a profession that was always busy: the hairdresser. Most women have long hair. You will hardly meet short-haired women in Lebanon. Fashion is also very important: Beirut is the fashion capital in the Middle East, just like the French city of Paris in Europe. In Lebanon there are ten girls for every boy. Many women compete for the few men in the country.
The veil is not mandatory for Muslim girls in Lebanon, but in Lebanon you see many young women with a headscarf. But these are often colorful and are also worn by many as a fashion element. In a family there are young women who wear a veil as well as women without a veil.
Lebanon is a country of contrasts, so you will find women in miniskirts as well as women with headscarves. However, should you ever meet a fully veiled woman, you can be pretty sure that this is not a Lebanese woman, but a visitor from abroad, probably an Arab state with strict dress codes.
The folk dance Dabke
There is a folk dance in Lebanon called Dabke. The dancers hold hands, stand close together and then follow the lead dancer. The steps aren’t difficult to learn. There is hardly a party at which Dabke is not danced. There are also great songs from the region. By the way, dabke means that you stamp your feet on the ground.
The origin of the dance is already a few years old and dates back to the times when the village community stamped the clay floor together in preparation for winter. This stamping has found its way into the dance, which is still danced like in earlier times.
Can you ski in Lebanon?
Yes, it actually works. And unlike in many a rich Gulf state, where you put ski halls in the desert, this sport has a long tradition in Lebanon. The first ski school in Lebanon was founded as early as the 1930s. At that time the French still exercised a mandate over Lebanon. Today there are even six ski areas in Lebanon and the highest facility is at least 2800 meters above sea level. By the way, in spring, when the mountains are still covered with snow, you can go skiing in the morning and then quickly drive to the coast, which is just a few kilometers as the crow flies, and then go swimming there. Not bad either, right?
In a Lebanese kitchen you will often find two taps by the sink. Why that? The water quality varies in Lebanon and is now falling. There is a tap with water for washing up and a tap for drinking water. However, this drinking water is not always available, so when the water is flowing, people fill it into water bottles.
There is also not always electricity everywhere in Lebanon. Sometimes yes sometimes no. In addition to the state’s power grid, people sometimes make do with their own power lines.
Refugees in Lebanon
As a country located in Asia according to franciscogardening, Lebanon has taken in a large number of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Officially, one speaks of more than one million, unofficially – including those who have not been registered – there are probably more than 1.5 to 1.7 million refugees from Syria in Lebanon, a country with around four million inhabitants. Expressed in numbers, this means that Germany would take in more than 20 million people.
The Lebanese helped
The Lebanese – themselves long victims of war – not only welcomed the refugees with enthusiasm, but they also provided assistance. You yourself were victims of war for many years. But the small country is completely overwhelmed. Most people live in refugee camps. It is no longer so easy for Syrians to get to Lebanon. There is a visa requirement, which means that you need a permit when crossing the border. Lebanon is sealing itself off so that more people don’t come.
The mood in the country has changed. In some areas the situation is bad, there is too little water and electricity, the garbage can no longer be disposed of and the state, which is itself highly indebted, has too little money to be able to distribute anything at all.