Christmas in Lebanon: Christmas Eve and Day
People celebrate Christmas Eve by lighting firecrackers, ringing church bells, and shooting guns off into the air (for similar customs, see shooting in Christmas). Many attend special religious services, such as Midnight Mass. Some churches also hold special concerts featuring Christmas carols on this evening.
Children enjoy a special privilege on Christmas Day. Custom per-mits them to approach any adult with the cry, "Editi ’aleik,” meaning, "You have a gift for me!” In this way they hope to add to the presents they have already received on Christmas morning. Nevertheless, a Lebanese Christmas emphasizes family togetherness over gift giving. Lebanese Christians often go visiting on Christmas Day, paying their respects first to older relatives and then visiting with other family members and friends. Guests are usually offered holiday treats, such as sugared almonds. Dried, sugared fruit is another favorite holiday sweet. Dishes of nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit provide additional snacks. Christmas dinner often features turkey or chicken, but people also enjoy many special pastries at Christmas time. In addition to baklava, a pastry made from phyllo dough, nuts, spices and sugar syrup, many Lebanese prepare knafi, a baked dessert made from cheese, shredded wheat, and sugar syrup.