Bonjour, or good day, is a french expression of goodwill said on meeting someone. A morning greeting can be a beautiful thing if we want it to be, whether it be wishing the person peace (Al salamu alaykom), greeting them while abandoning false-ego (namasate), asking if they have eaten (Chī fàn le ma). There is a beauty in expressing a first hand greeting to another human being.
Due to the fact that we speak 3 languages in Lebanon our greetings are a mix of cultures and languages:
Sabah El kheir
There is one expression that is for me quintessentially Lebanese and ironically it’s not even a word that belongs to any language. It’s a Lebanese word, my favourite of them all; the great Bonjourein, which means literally two bonjours. Bonjourein is expressed when returning the morning greeting of the other person. Although I’ve been to many countries, I have yet to find something that is similar to it. If there is a word that mirrors us I feel, it’s that word. It’s lively, fun, genuine, and generous. Yes, generous… It’s in our culture and instilled in us that we should always return the favour. Have you noticed that when someone says a joke, we always have the need to add to it at the end. Bonjourein, to me, suggests that if you are kind and loving to me I will return the love. I find it to be a wonderful way of paying it forward.
Receiving a simple greeting can always bring about a smile on one’s face. So how about if you received double the dose? A good all hearty Bonjourein? Therefore next time you see someone, remember to greet them with a bonjour that is bursting and overflowing with positive energy and just wait for the good old Lebanese Bonjourein.