It seems like it at least!
Lebanon is a “parliamentary democracy within the overall framework of confessionalism” or “a form of consociationalism in which the highest offices are proportionately reserved for representatives from certain religious communities” (thanks Wikipedia!). Basically, that means that each confessional group (Shiite, Sunni, Druze, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc) gets a certain number of representatives in the government.
Which means that we observe holy days from all of those groups, as well as national days (“army day” and Lebanese independence, for example). We also have some secular, Western holidays thrown in there as well (like Valentine’s Day – although generally schools and businesses are still open on these days).
Last week was Mother’s Day (my first!). This is a huge deal here. The girls have been preparing for weeks for the programs and parties at school. I was so bummed to miss them – we were in Greece at the time – but a few of them saved me cards and pictures they made. Here’s me and my girl on our way to church on our first Mom’s Day:
Last month, the government voted to add another official holiday to the calender. So, on Thursday we celebrated “Annunciation Day,” which is when Gabriel announced to Mary that she would have a son. This was significant because it is the ONLY religious holiday that both Christians and Muslims recognize, so the idea was to show a sign of solidarity.
The girls of course were just excited to have a day off from school. Although when I asked them what the occasion was, all they could tell me was “it’s the official holiday!” They had a fun day off – the older girls went on a trip with their Bible Clubs, and the younger girls went on a picnic in the Bekaa. There wasn’t room for Isla’s carseat in the van, so we couldn’t go, but Caleb went and had a nice time playing and eating and enjoying the Day of Annunciation! :)
posted by: nicolette