Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Muslim-Christian feast… symbolised by a song

Posted by worriedlebanese on 04/04/2010

This year, Lebanon finally celebrated its first muslim-christian feast: the Annunciation (البشارة) on March 25th. I said “finally” because the decision had been taken last year by the Council of Ministers, but the Prime Minister Fuad Siniora had refused to sign the decree, yielding to pressure from the Sunni Grand Mufti who had disapproved of the decision (and sacked one of its most crucial promoters, his secretary).

This day commemorates the announcement to Mary (by the archangel Gabriel) that she would miraculously conceive a child despite being a virgin. As long as you don’t go into details and stick to this general description of the commemoration, you’ll find it compatible with the New Testament and the Coran. But if you delve into the details, disagreements between the two texts start to appear. For Christians, the angel announced the birth of the Son of God, Jesus (يسوع or in the old language of Lebanon يشوع), for Muslims, the angel announced the birth of a Prophet, Issa (عيسى). Now these are very important dogmatic and theological differences. So to safeguard this feast consensual and inter-religions character, one has to respect the delicate line between what assembles and what separates; keep to the communalities and discard differences.

At first, I was quite skeptical about this inter-religious feast. When I was asked to write a short article about it last year, I had to fight against myself to “stay positive”, rein in my skepticism and cynism. But oddly enough, when the current Prime Minister Saad Hariri signed the decree in February, and announced it to the pope in Rome, I started to feel that there was something good about that celebration, and felt all the potential it had. Hopefully, it will be more meaningful (and pleasing to the eye and ear) than this rendering of the Ave Maria.


8 Responses to “Muslim-Christian feast… symbolised by a song”

  1. I was at the celebration at the Church of the Lady of Jamhour, on the 25th, it was very memorable and touching.
    It felt really good having all the variety of religious backgrounds and figures under one roof celebrating such a holy event for everyone. and yet i did feel that alot of people that are ignorant of the event and the value of compassion and religious tolerance will try to bash the event and its supporters, and unfortunately they did, the very next day i heard the most ridiculous comments from both sides of the religious spectrum and i’m ashamed of how far away from religion we have grown in Lebanon and how far away from God we are proud to be.

  2. lirun said


  3. […] I started to feel that there was something good about that celebration…” writes Worried Lebanese about the newly declared unified Muslim-Christian Holiday commemorating the Virgin Mary. […]

  4. […] [e mais tarde] comecei a sentir que havia algo de bom nessa celebração…” escreve Worried Lebanese [Libanês Preocupado, en] sobre a recentemente declarada unificação do Feriado […]

  5. Rayan Ali said

    Take a look on my Islamic blog http://www.religionbeliefs.muslimblogs.com which is located on largest Muslim blogging community

  6. lirun said

    ca va? on t’attend..

  7. lirun said

    esh bt3ml? bidi ishi jdid fi blogak haha

    • So weird to see u “speak” Palestinian Arabic. I’ve been moving around lately and was totally unable to collect my scattered thoughts. But I believe this week is going to be somewhat “productive”. thanks for your interest

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