About two weeks before Christmas people in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East plant seeds - chickpeas, wheat grains, beans, lentils - in cotton wool. They water the seeds every day and by Christmas the seeds have shoots about 6 inches in height. People use the shoots to surround the manger in nativity scenes. Figures are made from brown paper, as well a star is placed above the scene.
Traditionally throughout the Middle East people visit friends on Christmas morning and are offered coffee, liqueurs and sugared almonds. Lunch at Christmas is the most important meal of the season and the whole family gathers together for it, usually at grandparents or the eldest sons' home. The meal consists of chicken and rice, and Kubbeh, which is made up of crushed boiled wheat or burghul mixed with meat, onion, salt and paper.