Festivals and fairs
Festivals and fairs are very awaited, especially in summer. The Christian villages, in particular, often dedicated to the protection of a saint, never fail to celebrate their patron: Mar Elias, Mar Roukoz, Mar Sassine... Few days before, a playful and colorful universe takes place. All the women of the village get busy preparing the common meal, most of the time a kind of cereal and meat porridge, 'hrisseh', that will be distributed in the evening on the central place. Dances will then alternate with games and contests.
The traveling merchants install their stands full of candies and nuts. The image master, with his large wooden case, ancestor of television, deploys, using a crank and through a small hole, a succession of fantastic images that the children discover among cries of joy and uproars.
Small paper bags, filled with sand and a candle, are used in lieu of modest candlesticks to illuminate the place. Cotillions of all kinds are hung, creating an environment where time is suspended.
At the time of the festivals, the dance known as of the saber and the shield, "seif wa turss", was held on the public place. There, at the sound of the tambourine, each man in turn, holding a naked saber, draws in the middle of a circle a series of figures, of well defined and complex style. The dancer pretends to attack his adversary brilliantly and skillfully dodges his blows without ever seeking to really touch him.
Let us dance together
The group spirit, which nourished the human relations in the village, insufflated the soul of the country's traditional dance, the dabkeh.
The dabkeh goes back to more than three centuries when, by this natural agreement established in the community, any villager who wanted to carry out a painful work (build his house, cut and move stones in the fields...) was assisted by the other inhabitants of the village.
Once the task completed, the workers gathered to feast by carrying out a popular dance with energetic steps. Flute and tambourine players played along a popular melody.
Girls and boys, young and old, in arc of circle, would hold hands, shoulder against shoulder and, balancing themselves from left to right in a uniform movement, would dash forward and start to hop and strike the ground with their feet.