Lebanese rekindle traditional celebrations of St. Barbara's feast day
Published: November 21, 2003
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNS) -- After years of war and political instability, celebrations of the feast of St. Barbara are returning to Lebanon. The celebrations of the age-old tradition are toned down from a generation ago, but shouts of "Hay-shlee Ba-bar-a!" ("Run away, Barbara!") can be heard on the Dec. 3 eve of the feast day. Now children visit neighbors and relatives, most often driven by a parent. However, they still collect coins from the homes they visit and indulge in special Arabic sweets. In prior generations, children conjured up a disguise with whatever they could find at home in a display of creativity. Now ghoulish masks are plentiful. St. Barbara was a native of the Middle East; some believe she came from Turkey, others from Egypt. Her mother died when she was a young girl. She was tortured and killed by her father in 235 after converting to Christianity. Before her beheading, she would disguise herself to meet with other Christians, which began the tradition of wearing costumes on her feast day.
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .