Easter is the Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and for many Christians, it's the most important celebration. The Christian population in Lebanon, the largest of all Arab countries, is 40% with various communities, including Orthodox Christian, Maronite and Armenian. Though not always on the same dates for the Orthodox Christians (who follow a different calendar), Easter in Lebanon is celebrated similarly as it is in the West with processions, church services and large family gatherings. Special dishes are enjoyed, Easter eggs are decorated and everyone looks forward to the egg cracking game on Easter Sunday.
Special anise and sesame cookies, called Kaak el Chaanineh, are made especially for Palm Sunday, and you can find a recipe for the below cookies here
|Kaak el Chaanineh, Palm Sunday Cookies|
Photo Courtesy of Rosanie Nabbout of Glamroz.com ©
Make your own special candles: all you need is a long tapered candle, ribbon, something decorative (like an artificial flower) and a glue gun. You can see examples here and here.
On Good Friday, as during lent, people fast and abstain from meat. The statue of Christ is taken off its altar and put into a coffin, that's then carried around the church in a procession. It's left in the coffin until the Sunday service.
A common greeting on Easter Sunday starts by saying "Al Massih Qam" (Jesus is risen from the dead) while the other responds with "Haqqan Qam" (He has truly risen).
|Maamoul - Lebanese pastries made especially for Easter|
Photo Credit: Hisham Assaad (CC)
We made ma'amoul, which were a big hit, and you can find the recipe here.
In Lebanon, Easter eggs were traditionally dyed brown, green, yellow and red. These days, egg decorating comes in all colors and Easter egg hunts are enjoyed in many communities. Children and adults alike especially look forward to playing the Easter egg cracking game. After lunch each person chooses a colored, hard boiled egg and the battle begins by cracking it against another person's egg. The losing egg is the one that cracks, and by tradition goes to the winner. Some play until only one egg is left with just one end cracked (or no cracks at all) and that person wins.
How To Play the Lebanese Egg Cracking Game
One person takes his/her hard boiled egg in hand, exposing just an end. The other person takes his/her egg and hits that exposed egg. The one whose egg cracked - in case above, the "cracker" not the "crackee" :) - either loses that egg, or turns it over and takes a turn being the one to hold the egg in hand, exposing the uncracked end. Once an egg is cracked on both ends, that person is out of the game. Play continues until one egg and its owner wins.
This post is part of the Easter Around the World series on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Follow along as we explore how Easter is celebrated in different countries!
Title image adapted with overlay. Photo Credit to Serge Melki (CC)