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Home > General Information > Culture and Religion

Introduction | Facts | Travel Essentials | Geography and Climate | Language
Culture and Religion | Economy and Government | Night Life | Sports


Lebanon's rich history has been shaped by many cultural traditions, including Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Crusader, Ottoman Turkish, French, and recently American. The resulting culture is distinctively Lebanese, a combination of East and West, past and present. Folk music and dancing have a long tradition and are very popular. Influential Lebanese writers emerged in the early 20th century and greatly influenced the Arabic language. Painters, sculptors, and performers and producers in theater, film, and television have recently distinguished themselves.

The government policy of confessionalism, or the grouping of people by religion, plays a critical role in Lebanon's political and social life and has given rise to Lebanon's most persistent and bitter conflicts.

At the time of Lebanon's independence in the 1940s, there were more Christians than Muslims. In the following years, many Muslims immigrated to Lebanon and had a higher birthrate than the Christians; as a result, Muslims became the majority group in Lebanon.

Today, based on the CIA World Factbook, an estimated 70 percent of Lebanese are Muslim, while most of the remaining 30 percent are Christian. Every person's religion is encoded on a required, government-issued identification card. The government recognizes 17 distinct religious sects: 5 Muslim (Shiite, Sunnite, Druze, Ismailite, and Alawite), 11 Christian (4 Orthodox, 6 Catholic, and 1 Protestant), and Judaism.


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Last Update of LebGuide.com: February 2016