Christmas in Lebanon: Preparations
Many Eastern Christians, such as the Maronites and the Orthodox, fast for some or all of Advent, a period of spiritual preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas time. Eastern Christians fast by avoiding meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs.
As the holiday draws near, numerous Lebanese families buy and decorate Christmas trees. Many Lebanese Christians also construct Nativity scenes to place next to the tree. Housewives prepare for a sumptuous Christmas dinner, some buying a live turkey as early as November in order to ensure a plump, juicy, fresh bird for the Christmas table. Christmas preparations also include shopping trips to buy gifts for family members and friends. Shopping areas take on a festive appearance in many Lebanese towns at Christmas time. Christ-mas trees glitter with ornaments and strings of electric lights twinkle in the dark but mild winter nights. Images of Papa Noël, or Father Christmas, remind shoppers of their mission. For many people this Lebanese Santa Claus has replaced the camel as Lebanon’s traditional Christmas gift bringer. Gifts may also be purchased at church bazaars, which usually feature homemade foods and crafts.