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Easter Around the World

    Easter in Lebanon

    In Lebanon during lent the children of the villages collect eggs which they color and then use for egg-cracking games at Easter. Traditionally the eggs were dyed colors of brown, green, yellow and red.

    Another important Easter preparation is the making of the maamoul. Maamoul are little cakes that are made with semolina and covered with icing sugar and filled with walnuts or dates, they are made during the last couple of weeks during Easter. Each member of each family prepares a different part of the cake such as decorating the cake tops, women preparing their own recipes for the dough, plus hundreds of cakes, which are then laid out on trays or white sheets. The next day after they have been prepared they are taken to the bakery to be cooked.

    People go to church on Palm Sunday wearing new clothes or if they cannot afford this at least a new pair of shoes. A ceremony known as shanineh is held at the church. This celebration is a procession in which the children carrying candles are carried around the church on their parents' shoulders. The candles are decorated with ribbons and flowers.

    People fast during Lent and on Good Friday nobody eats any meat or animal products.

    During Lent every Friday evening a special church service is performed which re-enacts of the different stages of Christ's progress to Calvary. These services end on Good Friday, when the statue of Christ is taken down from the altar, placed in a coffin and taken around the church or even the surrounding neighborhood. The statue is left in the coffin during Easter Saturday and the church is in mourning until the Easter Mass held at midnight on Saturday or on Sunday morning.

    It is traditional that on the afternoon of Easter Saturday people visit seven churches to be blessed at each. Some people place their dough outside in a tree on Saturday night, believing it will be blessed by Christ. On Sunday evening they place small pieces of the dough in their other food containers, so that these will also become blessed.

    Everybody goes to church at Easter, whether it is on Sunday morning or Saturday's Midnight Mass as it is considered more important at this time then at Christmastime.

    Easter Sunday all families hold a special lunch at which turkey or chicken stuffed with nuts is served with rice. The afternoon is spent visiting as many people as possible so they only visit people for a short time. Each household has the maamoul laid out on a big plate with other delicacies such as chick peas covered with sugar and sugared almonds, these also are offered to guests.

Products Available from Amazon for Easter in Lebanon

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