Lebanon Marks Independence Day


Middle Eastern country marks anniversary of its independence from France.


Sr. Paoula Mourad, Director of the OLA Secondary School in Kab-Elias, and students who recently completed their second level exams plant a cedar tree during events to mark Lebanese Independence Day.


A special ceremony at an OLA school was one of many events to mark the annual November 22nd Independence Day celebrations. On this date in 1943, Lebanon gained independence from France.  The OLA Independence Day event took place at the OLA run primary and second level schools in the town of Kab-Elias, located in the east of the country.  The OLA Sisters – Notre Dame des Apôtres (NDA) in French – have had a presence in Lebanon for many years with communities in six locations across the country.

The cedar tree is the emblem which appears in the centre of the Lebanese flag and holds an important place in Lebanese culture. The bible also makes numerous references to the cedar tree including its use in the Ark of the Covenant. The tree played a prominent part during the recent Independence Day events at the school, with a number of graduating students planting one in memory of their achievements. Historically, Lebanon, a relatively mountainous country, had many large forests of cedar trees on its mountain tops. There have been efforts made in recent years to protect cedar tree numbers, following many years of deforestation. The Lebanese flag also features two red stripes representing wars which took place to repel invaders along with a white stripe that signifies peace and the snow capped mountains, where the cedar trees are located. 

In recent years, more than one million Syrians have fled to Lebanon to escape the ongoing war in their homeland. Click here to read an interview conducted by Sr. Josette Nasr, OLA with Archbishop Darwich on the migrant situaiton in Zahle, Lebanon.


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Pictured at events to mark Lebanese Independence Day are (from left): Sr. Mary Lebbos, Sr. Magdalis Yammine, Superior of the OLA community in Kab-Elias, Sr. Paoula Mourad, Kab-Elias School Director, Sr. Cynthia Nwakamma, Director of the OLA Nursery School in Kab-Elias and Sara Awad, an OLA postulant from Egypt. Missing from picture: Mary Fayez, an OLA postulant from Egypt, and Sr. Chantal Boua.