Zambo festival takes to the streets of Tripoli

Hundreds of Lebanese residents in the coastal city of Tripoli on Sunday took part in the annual Zambo festival to mark the beginning of the Christian fasting season, Lent.

The participants painted their bodies and faces in several colors such as black, silver, and gold to reflect the vibrancy of the colorful carnival. Many of the residents were dancing and wearing costumes resembling the traditional clothing of Native Americans.

“It is a festival that we hold every year and it marks the people’s conversion from slavery to Christianity,” said one local man.
The Zambo, according to locals, is an old Brazilian custom that was introduced to the community by an immigrant over eight decades ago. However, Tripoli’s celebration is their adaptation on a smaller scale of the Rio De Janeiro festival. Brazil is home to the largest Lebanese expatriate community in the world.

The Zambo festival was born in this Mediterranean city in the 1930s but was suspended during the 1975-1990 civil war.

“We hold this carnival every year on the first days of the fast for the Eastern sects. This carnival has been held in the Mina district for around 100 years. As you can see, the carnival brings joy to the city,” said resident Beshara Hassan.
Participants dance through the streets and collect money for the poor, followed by men and youth jumping into the Mediterranean Sea by the old port, Mina.
This old port area of Tripoli is home to both Muslims and Christians, bringing both communities closer together.

The period leading up to the major Christian feast of Easter is traditionally a time of repentance and self-denial, its 40 days of fasting symbolizing the time Jesus spent in the wilderness early on in his ministry.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »