2015 was a tough year for Lebanon. From the garbage crisis to the ongoing presidential vacuum (let alone the regional political turmoil and recurring security threats), it may look like 2015 brought nothing good to the country. But we’re here to look for that little spark of hope in the midst of all the trouble. So here are some of the positive (or slightly less negative) things Lebanon witnessed this year.

1. Christmas in Jbeil: a tale of many wonders

The genuine holiday vibe and wonderful Christmas decorations in Byblos never cease to amaze. For the second year in a row, Jbeil’s Christmas tree was chosen by The Guardian as one of the world’s best Christmas trees. With its striking hybrid design, the architectural marvel was also picked by Forbes as one of the 10 most wonderfully bizarre Christmas trees in the world. Can you beat that?

2. The Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by al-Nusra Front were released after 16 months of captivity

Sixteen Lebanese military officers who were kidnapped by al-Nusra Front in August 2014 returned home on the first of December after months of captivity, as a result of a Qatari-mediated prisoner swap between al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and the Lebanese army.

3. Hundreds of lives were saved through the heroic sacrifice of Adel Termos

On November 12, a twin suicide bombing hit Beirut’s southern suburb, claiming the lives of over 37 people and leaving more than 200 injured. Having witnessed the first blast, one courageous father by the name of Adel Termos spotted the second suicide bomber and attacked him, forcing him to detonate and saving hundreds of innocent lives. The story of Termos was picked up by national and international media as a symbol of everyday heroism.

4. For the first time in years, Miss Lebanon made top 5 in the Miss World pageant

A few weeks after she was crowned Miss Lebanon 2015, the beautiful Valerie Abou Chacra took off to China to represent her home country in the Miss World pageant. Abou Chacra stood out in the eyes of the judges and social media users alike, making it all the way to the top 5.

5. The Sursock Museum reopened its doors to visitors

Following a large-scale seven year renovation, the Sursock Museum reopened its doors to art enthusiasts in October. The Sursock mansion, initially established as a museum in 1961, houses a diverse collection of local and international artworks and welcomes visitors to experiment with various forms of art and ideation all year round.

6. And let’s not forget about the outstanding summer concerts we’ve had this year

Once again, Lebanese summer festivals were able to deliver impressive lineups and some outstanding acts despite the political chaos. Talented artists and bands including The Script, Jessie J, Angus & Julia Stone and John Legend (to name a few) graced the stage with memorable vocal performances this summer.

Share with us your own positive moments of 2015 in the comments section!

[Images found here, here, and here.]

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Nouhad Itani on Dec 31, 2015 via web