Springtime Festival

Springtime Festival

Begins between March 11 and April 15; four successive Thursdays before Orthodox Easter
Celebrated by people of all religious faiths, the Springtime Festival is a regional celebration throughout the Bekáa (or Beqaa) Valley in eastern Lebanon. It takes place during Lent, on four successive Thursdays preceding the Eastern Orthodox Easter.
The first Thursday, known as Thursday-of-the-Animals, is a day of rest for domestic working animals, whose heads are decorated with a spot of henna, which is symbolic of blood and life. On the following Thursday, known as Thursday-of-the-Plants, young children and unmarried girls wash themselves in water scented with crushed flowers. Next is Thursday-of-the-Dead, a day for visiting the graves of family and friends. Last is Thursday-of-the-Jumping, or Day of the Jumping, when people living in the mountains come down by the thousands to the plains to join in the festival activities. They visit the tomb of Noah, which is outside Zahle, and then the shrine of the Wadi Zaour, a locally popular Muslim saint, in Anjar, a town that was an Armenian refugee village in the 1940s. There they receive blessings for good health. Eventually everyone returns to the villages, where there is dancing in the streets and even on the mosque grounds.
SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 164
References in periodicals archive ?
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I asked one of the village elders if they ever had a problem separating "Church and State." As far as I could tell no one seemed to be afraid of praying openly and Christmas programs are real Christmas program along with an Easter celebration not disguised as a springtime festival. The elder told me, "That is your problem down there." The Friends Church has a large presence in both villages and in a large part are responsible for self imposed curfews and the lack of mischief that goes on in a lot of villages without the aid of village police.
THOMPSON - The town is looking for a resident to serve as the Thompson representative on the 2008 Regional Springtime Festival Committee.
June, pictured, from Fairfield, has been a regular at the springtime festival in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for the past four years.
Freund noted that up until a century ago, the B'nei Menashe celebrated an annual springtime festival known as Chapchar Khut, corresponding to Passover.