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Lebanon

 

Geography & Topography

Capital: Beirut

Area: 10,452 km²

Population: 4 259 405

Language: Arabic, French, English, Armenian

Religion: Muslim, Christian

Currency: Lebanese pound

History

The culture of Lebanon is an assimilation of various civilizations and cultures that have passed through over thousands of years. Starting with the first inhabitants of Lebanon, the country was then subsequently influenced by Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and more recently French. Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity of the Lebanese, they share an almost common culture. Lebanese Arabic is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted in wider Mediterranean and Levantine norms.

Performing Arts

Music

Music has always been an integral aspect of the affluent Lebanese culture. since the early days Lebanese music has been creating a worldwide reputation for itself through its power to captivate its listeners, its beautiful rhythm and its Arabic tunes. The music of lebanon assimilates the diverse Arab tunes and distinct characteristics of the country’s gypsy music. The result is a rich production of Arabic music with an enchanting quality.

The traditional music of Lebanon has borrowed elements from the traditional music of many civilizations and races, and has elements from the cultures of all those civilizations, which had ruled Lebanon during a time. Due to the substantial Arabic population of Lebanon, the music is mostly similar to Arabic music, which also is s delightful mix of multi cultural elements.

The most recognizable instruments in traditional Lebanese music are:

Mijwiz

Mijwiz: The Mijwiz which literally means “double” in Arabic is a very popular instrument used in Lebanese music. It is a type of reed clarinet and it is played by breathing smoothly through a circular aperture at the end and by operating the fingers over the holes down the front of the tube in order to create specific sounds. The minjjayrah is very related to the mijwiz, it is an open ended reed flute played in the same style, very popular among mountain villagers of Lebanon.

Lebanese Lute

 

 

Lebanese Lute: The word lute is an English word which came from the Spanish laud, the laud which originally came from the Arabic word and instrument al-Oud (meaning the branch of wood). The lute is shaped like a half pear with a short fretted neck, it is a six courses of two-strings instrument played with a plectrum-regularly a trimmed eagle’s feather. This instrument creates a deep and mellow sound.

 

 

Dance

Lebanese dance employs colourful folk dance outfits and dance techniques and is a treat to watch.

Examples of traditional Lebanese dances are:

Dabke

 

Dabke: This dance form arose out of a practical need. Earlier, houses in Lebanon had mud roofs. With the change of season, the mud would start to crack and fall off in pieces. The owner of the house would then invite people to help him rebuild the roof, and they would hold hands and dance on the roof together to set the mud properly.

 

 

Some interesting facts:

  • The primary language of Lebanon is Arabic but the second most spoken language is French. English is quickly becoming more common and will soon take over as the second most widely spoken language.
  • Lebanon is the only Asian/African country that does not have a desert.
  • The name ‘Lebanon’ has been known to mankind for the past 4000 years. The country’s name in fact is the oldest name in the world today.
  • Lebanon is a country that is blessed with fifteen rivers. All the country’s fifteen rivers flow down from its mountains.

Lebanese Community in Australia:

More information on the Lebanese community: