Maasser el-Chouf is a high mountain village in Lebanon, located in the governorate of Mount Lebanon in the Chouf district. It is located at an altitude between 1200 and 1950 meters above sea level and is renowned for its natural beauty, biodiversity and historical significance. In addition, the village has been classified by UNESCO as “zero pollution” and is part of the Chouf cedars nature reserve, also recognized as a biosphere reserve in 2005.

During the civil war, Maasser el Chouf witnessed massacres and the forced displacement of part of its population in 1983. After the reconciliation ceremony in the village in 1995, an association Jabalna was created to bring together the inhabitants still haunted by the memories of the war.

The name Jabalna came about because the NGO worked with all the communities around it. It first created activities for children with the aim of bringing Druze and Christians parents together. Then organized an annual festival inviting all small farmers to present their products. This not only gave them some exposure, but was also a great way to provide a market for their increasingly popular natural products. It specialized in the promotion of rural ecotourism, sustainable development and the products of small rural producers. In 2015, the National Dabke Day was created, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and in collaboration with the Chouf Cedar Reserve. It became a major celebration which attracts around 12,000 people.

Initially organized at the beginning of September, it was brought forward to August so that Lebanese from the diaspora visiting Lebanon could take advantage of it. Its program includes professional dabke performances, competitions such as best show, best costume, best dancer, best move awarded by the judges of “Dancing with the Stars”, as well as a free program for adults and for children, including dabke workshops and live shows. As part of the festival, stands selling local products are held in the gardens. Additionally, visitors have the opportunity and time to visit the famous cedar forest.

The National Dabke Day is part of a process of reconciliation and establishment of peace in Maasser el-Chouf. Its importance and notoriety at the national level provide the inhabitants of the village with a sense of identity transcending community affiliations.