Lebanese In-laws 101

A while ago we wrote two posts giving tips to tourists coming to spend summer vacation in lebanon, you might think this one is similar but it's not, this post is for "NEW-non-Lebanese-preferably-non-oriental-family-members" coming to lebanon with their Lebanese companion to meet the family.

Have you seen the movie "My big fat  Lebanese Greek Wedding"?
Well don't, it will scare you off.

When you come to meet your future Lebanese family & friends be prepared for :

1- The Airport welcome committee:
Be prepared for a lot of kissing, hugging, hand shaking, and tears ("Eja el 3ariss/3arouss"!).
Yes, a good Lebanese family must show you its love and acceptance from the minute you arrive till the minute you leave. Just be thankful they didn't slaughter a sheep at the airport gate.

2- The morning after:
You think you've met the whole family members at the airport and you're fine for the next day, well... NO! Prepare yourself to go out of bed fully dressed and looking sharp, the rest of the family is already in the living room, sipping coffee and waiting to hear your door open.

3- The Sunday Lunch:
Never, like NEVER, finish your plate or your glass of Arak, grandma will think you're still hungry and "3ammo" will think you're still thirsty and they will keep on filling them until you or your liver explode: "Ya hasrté! Leiké ba3do jo3an! Sobbilo ta 2ellik sobbilo!". 

4- The Kitchy/Tricky Questions: (Arabic Accent/ literally translated words from Arabic)
- "Chou tu parles un peu arabe?" or "You speak arabic a little"?
Note:  Don't be tricked in answering this question with the few words you've learned in arabic like:    charmouta, hmar, etc...

-  "Tu as aimé le liban? / Did you like lebanon?" "On peut faire le ski et aller à la mer après en 20 minutes" / "We can ski & go to the beach in 20 minutes" (Would love to see you doing that now!).

- "Tu as goûté?" / "Did you try?"  Mankouché? Arak? Kechk? Almaza? Loz? Arguilé? Kebbé?
Kahwé? Labné? Baklawa? Hummos? Tabboulé ? etc...
Note: Just nod and say yes, or else you'll see your bags filled with Kechk and Baklawa. 

5- The Family Tree:
Don't waste your time trying to know how the members of one family are related, after all we are all cousins!

6- The Dabké Experience:
Warm up as you're gonna break dance the lebanese style. Yes, you cannot leave Lebanon without "dabkeing", so grab the hand of tante Yvonne and beat down your feet on the floor randomly, everyone will tell you how great a dancer you are, while we all know you're not.

7- Groundhog Day:
Now even-though you're coming to Lebanon every year (twice) since 2008, and you actually lived there for 5 consecutive months, you'll always hear the same questions, they will always teach you how to eat a bite of hummus with a lebanese bread, and how to dance Dabké...

... But they will also remind you each time how hospitable they are, and how proud they are of having you in the family, and you'll remember how lucky you are to have a Lebanese family, and why you fell in love with a Lebanese at the first place.


  1. PS: "LEBANESE and PROUD" ! :)

  2. you forgot: "did you taste tawouk with TOOM EXTRA? "

    nice one! :)

  3. You forgot to say that they'll discuss your weight and your clothes directly in front of you (in Arabic of course and you won't understand but body language leads you to believe that's what they might be doing).On your next visit they'll discuss if you are fatter or thinner and you might get the gist but by the next visit you should know a little Arabic and you can feel really insulted.It takes about ten years to accept it and get over it! Luv Lebanon.

    1. Every time..Lebanese are proud and vain. If you don't shave/wax/wear full makeup/best clothes/high heels they'll comment, drop hints or say otherwise nasty crap.

  4. Lost: You're right, but we're still in class 101 ;) in 102 i'll treat this subject... Thank you for the comment...

    Jess: i forgot about the tawouk ! MA32oul !

    oLraC : Proud , yes , sometimes :)

  5. this is what makes us Lebanese in a sense..we shouldn't change that

  6. 5- The family Tree:
    Haha thats so true.
    But btw, if you are really interested in knowing your family members, use Katagogi . You can build your tree and they have a lot of Lebanese Families you might eventually be related to.

  7. Great post. I'm eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. I'm also waiting for someone to do a single huge family tree of all Lebanon. It would be cedar shaped and kind of intricate, but the whole population and the diaspora would be in there somewhere. I love having married into this mess.

  8. you should also get used to guilt trips!

  9. I get really tired of the scrutiny. My last stay was 3 weeks, I have to perfectly presented all the time and "happy" looking even though I can't follow too much conversation. Honestly despite the site seeing and food, keeping up an appearance and having to act happy 24/7 is not much of a holiday. Not sure how I'll handle 3 weeks again.


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