Christmas around the Mediterranean

Have you ever wondered how Lebanese Christians celebrate Christmas? How Arabic Christmas songs sound like? Or where Christmas markets came from? Read our miniseries about Christmas around the Mediterranean to find out more. 

Christmas in Lebanon

© Photo by Paul Saad on Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Christmas markets opened all over Germany this week. But Germany isn't the only country to celebrate the run-up to christmas with festive decorations, markets and huge christmas trees. Check out the gigantic christmas tree that was put up in Beirut, Lebanon at Martyrs Square in the city center last year. If you want to experience Christmas in Lebanon yourself apply for our bi-national master program with mandatory term abroad. To learn more about Christmas traditions in Germany follow our page and stay tuned for the next post in a week.

In Lebanon, 35% of the population follow a form of Christianity called Maronite Catholic. These Christians build manger scenes in their homes called a Nativity Crib. The crib is more popular than a Christmas Tree. In the capital city, Beirut, big and glamorous Christmas parties are held in major hotels and lots of people like going to them, even if they're not Christian. When people visit each other houses over the Christmas period, sugared almonds are often eaten with strong cups of coffee.

In Arabic "Happy/Merry Christmas" is "Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد)" which means 'Glorious Nativity Day'.

Christmas in Germany

Christmas markets exist since the Middle Age - at least in parts of Germany and Austria. The one in Erfurt is "only" turning 170 next year, but still draws around 2 million visitors each year. It starts right under the cathedral and spreads throughout the whole city where artisans sell their products, food and the obligatory "Glühwein" (mulled wine) which is typical for Christmas markets in Germany. Christmas music is central as well to create a jolly mood. Stay tuned to learn about Arabic Christmas songs next week.

If you're a (sociology) student from Lebanon or abroad with an interest in Germany and Europes connections with the Middle East apply for our Masters program to experience the christmas market in Erfurt yourself.

Foto: Mathias Birsens
Foto: Mathias Birsens
Foto: Mathias Birsens
Foto: Mathias Birsens
Foto: Mathias Birsens
Foto: Mathias Birsens

Arabic Christmas songs

What kind of Christmas music do Lebanese Christians listen to?
Maybe something like this - Fairuz very own interpretation of "Jingle bells". 

Check out the full playlist at Spotify to find more Arabic interpretations of Christmas songs that will sound quite familiar to European ears:

Christmas in Lebanon...again?!

©️ Photo by Beautiful Faces of Berlin on Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Frohe Weihnachten! Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! عيد ملاد مجيد!

At least to those who celebrate it... already. Around 8% of the Lebanese population are of the Orthodox Church which doesn't celebrate Christmas until 6th of January! For this reason there are two Christmas holidays in Lebanon ;-)