Mar 2, 2014

Define: Zambo

  1. Someone who is half-black, half American Indian.
  2. A pedigree of the human race. Excels at friendship, flip cup and being a magnet for women.
  3. A jerk. A jackass. Stupidity sometimes due to alcohol or drugs. – source

  1. To have your face randomly and/or voluntarily painted by total anonymous strangers
  2. To join a mighty local march started by a group of people who proudly paint themselves in colors among which Black, Red or Blue.
  3. To have the fun of your life screaming your lungs out shouting the famous Zambo anthem
  4. To enjoy the fact that everybody’s happy around you
  5. To be able for a day a year at least, to have everybody stare at your pitch black face going back home and having your parents freaked out the first instant they saw you
  6. To add another unforgettable day to your life span of unbelievable facts
  7. To see the people of Mina drinking, dancing and singing to the tunes of Zambo all while having an outrageous dose of fun painting the faces of bypassers here and there. – source: Myself.

Can you imagine what it feels to enjoy all of the above? There’s nothing I could describe today with less than extremely out-of-this-world. Started out at 8 in the morning with a croissant in one hand, a cup of warm milk in the other one, all while driving my bike to meet the Debs, my friend Oscar, at the renowned Groupy Roundabout in Mina. Felt so happy to see him, among many other fellow photographers, having their cameras wrapped up in colorful plastic bags, anticipating the huge mess that's about to happen in a couple minutes.

It was a blast to see the Shoot As You Walk clan taking their 59th stroll in Mina, more specifically where the Zambo carnival will take place at. Another highlight of my day was Orpheus, the super guy that had come all the way from France, passing by Beirut, to join the Tripolitans on this festive day.

"The Zambo Carnival has been held for almost a century. It celebrates the start of the Christian Lent / Le Carnaval Zambo se tient tous les ans depuis près d'un siècle. Il célèbre le début du Carême [Photos: Natheer Halawani]"

Orpheus with a random black-faced creature.
Courtesy of Ahmad Halawani
L'Hote Libanais (the Bed&Breakfast online service run and owned by Orpheus) had shared some of the photos I took today, along with the ealier-mentioned brief description of the Zambo festival. Indeed, Zambo is the Christians in Mina's way to celebrate the beginning of their lent, by wearing tribal clothes, painting their skin in - mostly - dark colors and covering their faces with scary halloween-like masks, wandering around the tiny alleys of old Mina spreading fun and joy all around. The carnival is usually accompanied with Champagne bottle celebration at the end, followed eventually by the participants - each - throwing themselves in the freezing water of the nearby beach. And they say people in Tripoli know no joy.

I will leave you with some of the remarkable shots taken today at the Zambo festival, shown only on my blog, all while the rest of the pictures can be seen on my Facebook Album. Until next Zambo, kel sene w entou bi kheir :)

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