The Assumption at Deir Mimas in Lebanon

Eighty kilometers south of Beirut, Deir Mimas is a beautiful village that attracts visitors who come from afar to admire the landscape with the houses among the olive trees. The olive trees are the lungs of the village. They have shaped its traditions and they are the basis of its economy. Oil is to the village of Deir Mimas what wine is to Bordeaux.
Even the name of the village is exemplary. It brings together the villagers in their diversity. Deir is in fact a Semitic word meaning “home” or “monastery” and “mimas” refers to Saint Mimas, or Mema, the great martyr and patron saint of the village.
The Virgin Mary has the power of bringing together all of the sons and daughters of the village. For the last three years, all of the villagers have been gathering around the Virgin on her feast day at the Latin church of the Franciscan Fathers of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Participants in the celebration also included fourteen families of Iraqi Christians who have taken refuge there after leaving their countries to escape its occupation by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Since then, they have been been living among the inhabitants who have welcomed them and who have helped them to get settled in.
This year, the feast of Our Lady of the Assumption was special. The goal was to make the feast a village tradition that can gather the surrounding Lebanese villages that themselves are known for their various yearly festivals.
Everyone gathered around the Virgin. Young and old, Lebanese of all religions, Iraqis, and also some Syrian Muslim families who have found refuge in Deir Mimas. A group from UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, also joined the Deir Mimas family for the feast.
The feast was celebrated two days in a row. The day was devoted to the youngest children and inhabitants of Deir Mimas, who are from Lebanon, Iraq and even Syria, as well as those families who came from Beirut to celebrate the Assumption in their villages with their families. A Kermesse was organized with activities for all ages. The Latin parish’s course was filled with joy and music that could even be heard in the village.

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