On 9 December 2010, Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and Beirutis took a much needed break from all the doom and gloom. The Lebanese, known for their lavish, posh celebrations – that joie de vivre or whatever you wish to call it – celebrated the start of the Christmas season with sweeping gusto.
The prime minister along with the Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud, the General Director of Ministry of Tourism Nada Sardouk and countless Lebanese and tourists all joined in the lighting of Downtown Beirut's giant Christmas tree.
Lebanese gathered, children and all, amid fireworks and the dazzlingly decorated Christmas tree. Along with the giant tree, there are over 120 Christmas trees spread throughout the capital's downtown landscape.
The evening marked the launch of "Beirut Celebrates 2010". Children dressed in Christmas elf costumes took part in the festivities as fireworks exploded above the massive tree. Miss Lebanon Rahaf Abdallah also joined in, as she sat atop a convertible which carried her to the main stage where Hariri and other ministers stood to press the big red button which would light up the evening's centrepiece.
The past few months have been rough on the Lebanese and their politicians who have wrestled with the threat of civil war in the midst of rising concern that the UN Hariri probe will indict members of Hezbollah, a Shia resistance movement, for the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Al-Hariri.
But between the spectacular celebrations which took place on 9 December and the much anticipated concert of legendary Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, who performed yesterday, 14 December, in Beirut to crowds of thrilled concert-goers, both young and old, the Lebanese elite have had plenty of opportunity to put murder and intrigue on the back burner – for the time being anyways.
The 41 year-old rocker is the best selling Canadian male recording artist of all time, and has won countless awards throughout his career. He is perhaps best known for the hit single“(Everything I do) I do it for you” which remains the longest running number 1 in the UK Singles Chart (4 months in a row). He is also known for the hit song “Summer of ‘69”. In the spirit of Christmas and giving, organisers said that proceeds from yesterday's concert will go to the Children's Cancer Centre of Lebanon.