May 06, 2015

Kings Day in Lebanon

It’s the biggest party of the year In Holland; King’s Day (formally known as Queen’s Day, when we had a queen). If ever you’d have to choose a day to visit Holland, make it April the 27th:  best party on the block. And although we’re far from home, or maybe because we’re far from home, it gets celebrated here as well. It used to be just an embassy party, but since Tineke (the organization) and Joke (the venue) have gotten into the game, Kings Day in Lebanon got quite festive. The Dutch community in Lebanon isn’t a large one, but it has grown these last few years, due to the presence of Syrian refugees. Many work for NGO’s or the UN.

The Syrian crisis has created lots of jobs for the Dutch (and other Europeans) in the relief effort sector. So there’s been a bit of influx of new Dutch. So on King’s Day, we party. In orange, as you have noticed. That’s because the royal family is of ‘the House of Orange.’  Colors in Lebanon, of course, have a political implication.  I am sure people in the neighborhood must have thought there was an Aoun convention going on. This so called ‘orange craze’ is a phenomenon that pops up during international sporting events (notably soccer and speed skating).
We hang out, bake poffertjes, while the kids play games and sell their old toys (and with the money, they buy other children’s old toys so you still come home with junk) on the so called ‘free market’. And what did not sell, ends up in the fire place J I think next year we should include a Kings Night (the night before kings day, when the party gets going), a band, a BBQ, and a bigger free market (one where adults can get rid of their stuff as well).
It’s a pity you’re not all Dutch in Lebanon, because now you have to miss this party.   

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