Al-Fitr in Lebanon will not turn its joy around … as if it were a time-out

In the play “Dawaleeb al-Hawa” by the Rahbani brothers, a discussion takes place among the viewers about the name that the villagers will choose for their annual festival, because “there is nothing like a village without a festival” … From the festival of Al-Ghanani, the festival of sweetness, the moon and the night, to the festival of olives and the festival of Nabaa, to the festival of wheels of the sky. The holidays are the joy of the Lebanese, the days of glory and prosperity, and the international festivals in Baalbek and the Cedars.

The war came, but the Lebanese refused to allow their holidays, and during the years of fighting, they remembered Al-Mutanabbi in the verse, “Eid, anyway, you came back.”

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During the time of the long war, the festival, regardless of its religious or national identity, became a station of joy and peace for those who, in the darkness of shelters, behind earth walls and barriers, in homes and schools, forced displaced from their homes, and for those fleeing Lebanon and the hell of war.

The cannons were silent during the holidays … Christmas and New Year, just like the European film about a truce instituted by the fighters with a Christmas carol singing party between the enemy armies, the Germans on one side and the French and English armies on Christmas Eve on the other hand. Like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Easter, Independence and Flag Day, and the memory of the Ottoman gallows martyrs before it became the memory of the martyrs of the press. Every holiday has a political, security and later social flavor when it has its media appearance in holding celebrations or social support campaigns and financial aid programs for the poor and needy.

After the war, the holidays had other meanings. Arab singers and Lebanese singers celebrate Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha at parties whose advertisements fill Lebanon’s roads, evenings of songs that accompany Ramadan evenings and their tents that have turned into a destination of neighboring countries, and religious songs in Beirut accompanies Christmas.

Every festival has its own, and the Lebanese love festivals and celebrations. From Santa Claus to the Eid swing and the Beirut forest, which was filled with children’s songs and screams. On Palm Sunday, the shop windows flicker with white candles, and on Valentine’s Day, the facades turn red and the roses fill the houses of lovers. Candy stores flourished, and Arabian sweet advertising and sophistication returned from Jounieh to Tripoli and Sidon, to the markets of Western sweets and sweets, and the rise of the star of Western cuisines and thriving restaurants.

Fayrouz sings, “At this feast I want to give a gift, not gold or roses. I saw my people who included a flower and a heart, and they offered a feast for the feast.” Holiday songs abounded about love, life, Lebanon and religious and national events. To this extent the festival had its joyful days and celebrations, which were added to the days of peace in joy and permanent celebrations. Travel excursions and announcements about holiday parties outside Lebanon, and about winter and summer parties on holidays and occasions, regardless of the identity of the holiday.

With the onset of the collapse phase since 2019, obsessions have begun to cloud the Lebanese holidays. Christmas and New Year coincided with the first holidays after the protests of October 17, so the Lebanese tried to jump over their concerns. The revolutionaries danced and celebrated in the squares of Beirut and Tripoli, decorated the Eid trees and greeted the New Year with crackers and songs. But the Corona epidemic was on the rise, and gradually a different kind of epidemic began to appear in his head. The lira collapsed, the dollar rose and the festive seasons experienced unprecedented drought.

It has not happened that television programs and the search for help have become aware of this interest they have known for the past two years with the rise in people’s need and need, talking about festive dinner tables and stuck with the crazy rise in prices . of products, sweets, chocolates and sweeteners.

Today and for the third week, the Lebanese are experiencing the joy of the holiday. After the two Easter holidays for the denominations that follow the western and eastern calendars, Eid al-Fitr, comes at the height of the economic collapse. However, the Lebanese people’s coexistence with crises has had a positive effect at a time when an unprecedented decline in extreme poverty was supposed to be recorded. The reason for keeping the Lebanese in harmony with their holidays and their joy is in a significant part due to expatriates and residents outside Lebanon.

In three weeks, flight bookings to Lebanon increased, especially from Europe and Arab countries. Whole families came to Lebanon to spend the holidays, and families also left, and the majority of them went to the Arab lands where the fathers or sons live. These reciprocal journeys reflected a kind of economic stability, as it showed the amount of financial support that residents abroad provide to their families. Taxi and car rental companies have regained their operations in recent weeks due to the high demand for them, and restaurants in Beirut and the mountains have been filled with Lebanese coming from abroad, after the dollar price difference contributed to an increase in demand for discussions. Candy stores were active, and Eid and Easter and Ramadan treats were active, although the economic crisis raised the price of a kilo of maamoul, one of the sweets associated with the holiday, to between 25 and 30 dollars per kilo , equivalent to 700 thousand pounds, which is close to the minimum wage. At the same time, Lebanese women have returned to preparing Eid cakes and delicacies at home, despite the high prices of primary derivative products.

Expatriates ‘money at this stage helped to cut families’ time and compensate them with a few days of joy, gifts and invitations to restaurants, where prices ranged between £ 400,000 and £ 600,000 per person. However, the festival stage witnessed a suffocating traffic jam, and the mall restaurants were filled with their diners after two years of disruption due to Corona and the life crisis.

However, these impasse were still governed by considerations to ensure the basic requirements, i.e. food and basic necessities, after the insane rise in the prices of fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, the movement of commercial markets, especially gifts and clothing, has slowed. With the rise in the prices of children’s toys and clothes, the commercial movement stagnated and turned them into retail stores, which lasted for weeks, that is, with the celebration of Palm Sunday, in which parents buy new clothes for their children, and mushrooms, an unusual agitation.

It is true that at this stage Lebanon sees a contradiction between the image of full restaurants and the partial tourist movement in some of the destinations, but this does not prevent the fact that the conditions of the majority of Lebanese are close to the real inability to ensure minimum requirements of life amid a mad rise in the prices of fuel and electric power by generators.

However, there is always a place for joy in the Lebanese holidays, which is based on the fact that it is primarily family holidays. In the coming days, the Lebanese will be on a date with a new joy. Boys return to Beirut for the holidays, families leave for their fathers who work abroad. Those who live here will be on an appointment with the sea season or walking on the Corniche of Beirut, Sidon and Tripoli, or they will return to their towns and villages, and Al-Agaqa is currently two obstacles, one for Eid and the others to prepare for the elections, and both of them form for the Lebanese a station outside the well-known diaries full of news of the collapse and its complements.

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