Why Lebanon is special? 2/2
Lebanon is proud of its rich culture, from prehistoric times, Phoenicians, Romans, Ottomans and French, this small country has seen a myriad of human activity. This crowded history has left its markings littered all over Lebanon and in its people. Lebanon is a truly diverse country with varying religions, lifestyles and even genetics.
Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East.
We have 18 recognized religious sects. The Muslim are around 54% (27% Sunni 27% Shia), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite Catholic, 1% Protestant 5.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus & Mormons.
Christians Maronite were the largest sect, this is why they were allocated the highest and most powerful position of “President of the Republic” but the number decreased due to the multiple migrations but they still have this mentioned position.
Religion and government in Lebanon are deeply and formally intertwined, the relative proportions of the country’s religious communities is a highly sensitive matter…The president is Christian Maronite, the prime minister is Muslim Sunni, the Speaker of the Parliament is Muslim Shiite.
Walking around, you witness veiled and unveiled women walking together the entire time, Church beside the mosque, Muslims and Christians altogether visiting Christmas trees and enjoying Christmas ornaments during Christmas season, as you can see Christians joining their Muslim friends for Ramadan’s Iftar. This is how we live in general. You can always find fanaticism and racism but I believe this is exists in the most so-called civilized countries in the world!
For a small country, Lebanon has been a source of a staggering amount of artists, thinkers and curators of culture. From writers and poets like Gibran Khalil Gibran, Said Akl, May Ziadeh…to musicians and music composers: Al Rahbani family, Fairuz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi, Marcel Khalife…and directors like Nadine Labaki…the Lebanese have produced countless artists that made their country very proud.
We have the best nightlife in the entire region, the best night clubs and pubs, best mixed drinks and high level of security and respect. Also the Lebanese nights at Lebanese restaurants are a total new level of awesomeness, fun and creativity! Our native folk dance is the “Dabke”. When Lebanese dance “Dabke”, they take the party or the wedding to a whole new level of excitement and joy!
We have the most beautiful and trendy women and good looking men as well! Lebanese women take a lot of care in their looks, yet that doesn’t mean that they are shallow and superficial. In fact, they are smart and are able to achieve and to inspire.
The Lebanese people love life despite all what they went through. Civil wars and conflicts and assassinations and economic crisis, we are survivals! We love life! You will notice that everyone smiles despite everything! We learned that life goes on, no matter how hard it gets.
We are proud of our tradition of hospitality, we are very hospitable people and in our culture it’s an honor to have a guest in our home. Guests are generally served tea or coffee immediately. Good manners dictate that such offers are accepted; otherwise it will be an insult. All Lebanese houses make “Turkish Coffee”, it’s the origin, but we call it “Lebanese Coffee” and we have mastered it! You’ll not taste the same even in Turkey (I’ve been there and I can tell)
Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world! We have the tastiest wine and there is lot of competition and wineries. Yesterday I had the chance to attend a wine tasting for a new winery: RIACHY Vineyards, a very well educated and professional man: Mr. Imad Riachy, expert in wine making, he did researches about Lebanese wine and the entire region and he’s making a great and tasty wine. (@riachyvineyards)
The most common Lebanese drink in Lebanese restaurants is “Arak”, it’s a transparent drink made of grapes and anise and it becomes white when you mix it with water.
Lebanese hotels are another successful story, luxury, comfort, professionalism and great service! I remember when we had a guest from Switzerland, we had a conference in a very famous hotel in the heart of Beirut, and he was fascinated by the luxury and service. We were so proud!
We have the best resorts and beaches in summer as we have the best Ski resorts in winter! The coastline in Lebanon alternates from sandy to rocky beaches, offering an interesting variety of terrain and seaside activities we have parasailing, paragliding, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, swimming, hiking in the beautiful mountains, horse riding; all the activities you seek are available! Many destinations that are worth a visit!
We have the city life and we have the mountains life! We have 4 seasons and moderate climate. The mountains are not so far from the beach, sometimes it’s 20 minutes’ drive and sometimes up to one hour. Most Lebanese have 2 houses, one in the city and one in the mountains to spend the summer.
“Cedar” the famous tree, mentioned in the bible, from which the Phoenicians built their fleet, is a source of pride for the Lebanese. The Cedar, as a symbol of eternal life, is on the country’s flag and is located in one of its most visited sites in Bcharre in north Lebanon. We call it “El Arz”. And also in south Lebanon, Al Shouf.
We have beautiful landscapes and villages as well
Mostly, we are proud because this is our only country! Even though many Lebanese have double nationalities but still this is our country, our home despite all the flaws and problems.
We are proud, because we are all this and we have all this despite the political issues, corruption, conflicts, foreign intervention, plots and schemes…
This is why we are so proud that we are “Lebanese”.
What are your thoughts about Lebanon? Love to hear your opinions!
H.A – February 9th 2019