Zambo is one of the most unusual celebrations in Lebanon and it takes place in Mina, Tripoli every year right before the start of the Orthodox Lent. Participants from all different cultural, social and religious backgrounds paint their faces and wear colourful costumes to take part in this festive and vibrant event that includes music, dancing and feasting, and ends with all participants jumping in the sea to wash off their paint.

It’s still not clear who brought this century-old tradition to Lebanon, as some claim Lebanese immigrants from South America begun this tradition while others attribute it to Senegalese forces stationed in Lebanon during World War II. Either way, it’s a unique celebration that brings together all communities and ends with all participants diving in the the Mediterranean Sea, washing off their pain

Here are some pictures from this year’s Zambo festival: