Eid il-Burbara

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Eid il-Burbara
Observed by  Russia
Middle Eastern Christians in
Type Religious
Celebrations cooking traditional food, wearing costumes,chants/hymns,decorations
Date December 4
Next time 4 December 2018 (2018-12-04)

Eid il-Burbara or Saint Barbara's Day (Arabic: عيد البربارة‎), is a holiday annually celebrated on December 4 (Gregorian calendar), December 17 (Julian calendar), among Middle Eastern Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey (Hatay Province). It has become Lebanon’s counterpart to the Halloween celebration, although it existed as a tradition much earlier.[1] It is celebrated in honour of the Christian Saint and Martyr Saint Barbara. The general belief among Lebanese Christians is that Saint Barbara disguised herself as many different characters to elude the Romans who were persecuting her.


The traditional food made on this feast is Burbara, a bowl of boiled wheat grains, pomegranate seeds, raisins, anise and sugar. It is offered to children who go from one house to another in costumes. [2] In the Middle East, Middle Eastern Christians cook a dough that is filled with walnuts or cheese. Heavy traffic occurs in bakeries because of people buying the traditional food for this holiday. Children go trick or treating [3] while singing a special song for Eid il-Burbara. Moreover, Halloween decorations, such as jack-o'-lanterns, can be seen.

A common practice in Lebanon on Eid il-Burbara finds its source on the legend of Saint Barbara who was believed to witness a miracle while fleeing prosecution. She ran through freshly planted wheat fields, which grew instantly to cover her path.

This miracle is recreated symbolically today by planting wheat seeds (or chick peas, barley grains, beans, lentils, etc.) in cotton wool on Saint Barbara’s feast day. The seeds germinate and grow up to around 6 inches in time for Christmas, when the shoots are used to decorate the nativity scene usually placed below the Christmas tree.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eid il-Burbara Retrieved 1 August 2013
  2. ^ Saint Barbara Traditions and Customs Retrieved 1 August 2013
  3. ^ St. Barbara's Day Retrieved 1 August 2013