Accessibility links

Breaking News

Beirut Looks to Christmas After a Year Marked by Trouble


FILE PHOTO A man dressed as Santa Claus, entertains children at Beirut Souks, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon December 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)
Beirut Looks to Christmas After a Year Marked by Trouble
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:11 0:00

A charity is bringing Christmas spirit to Beirut, a city that has faced several crises recently.

The Solidarity Christmas Village, near Beirut’s damaged port, has bright lights and colorful trees. It has been offering visitors free entry to watch music shows and pick up drinks and food. The idea is to help families who cannot pay for seasonal goods. Beirut has suffered some difficult events this year.

A huge explosion took place at its port, coronavirus infections have increased and it has had an economic crisis, the country’s worst since Lebanon’s civil war from 1975 to 1990. But at the Solidarity Christmas Village, people dress like polar bears and Santa Claus. “We need to make our children happy...even if we are tired,” said Toni Hossainy, who had brought her son.

The Christmas village has been set up in a temporary building near the port, which was destroyed by the deadly explosion on August 4.

FILE PHOTO A Christmas tree with names of those who died during Beirut port explosion, is seen near the damaged grain silo, in Beirut, Lebanon December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
FILE PHOTO A Christmas tree with names of those who died during Beirut port explosion, is seen near the damaged grain silo, in Beirut, Lebanon December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Near the port’s entrance, an artist put up a large Christmas tree. The tree is decorated with protective clothing and hard hats that were worn by firefighters who had battled the resulting fire at the port. The explosion left tens of thousands of people homeless in a nation already struggling with debt problems.

Opera singer Elias Francis gave a concert to open the Christmas village. He brought his own equipment to protect against the coronavirus. “No matter how negative things are around us, like the blast, like the coronavirus, like the economic situation which is very bad, there is still a glimmer of hope,” he said. Glimmer is a term that means a small amount or sign of something.

In a mainly Christian area of Beirut, a woman named Nina said her shop that sells Christmas goods had been crowded in years past. But this year, the shop closes early because no one comes.

Georgette Suleiman, age 63, almost began to cry when she thought about the problems of 2020. “God willing, this Christmas will bring us joy and hope, and Lebanon will return to how it was,” she said.

I’m John Russell.

Edmund Blair reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor. _________________________________________________

Words in This Story

charity – n. an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.

decorate – v. to make (something) more attractive usually by putting something on it

concert – n. a public performance of music

negative – adj. harmful or bad : not wanted

See comments (1)

XS
SM
MD
LG