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From Ras Musandam in the far north of Oman, to the southern region of Dhofar; the national tunes and Omani music rise along with the dance of white, red and green ribbons that fly in the sky, on the rooftops, in the streetlights and from the open windows of passing cars. On 18th of November, the colors and music form a show of love.
The happiness of these colors has a long story written in Omani history. Yet, telling the story in one National Day won’t be through words, it’s by rejoicing and the celebration among Omanis.
The tale itself is even bigger. It’s a story of a citizen, history, culture and pride. The National Day has a great meaning in the heart of Omanis as it brought up the stories from home and their connections from China in the east to the west of the United States. On this day, Omanis call it the Renaissance day, which was established in 1970.
18th of November, is one of the important dates in the Omani calendar. Omanis of all ages celebrate the National Day and the achievements of the blessed renaissance led by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The basket of the dates kept in the middle of the house, the dates honey (Dibs) in the corner of the kitchen, and the “Daan” opened in the yard of the house, all prove Oman’s deep history with of dates with Omanis.
The link between Omanis and the palm tree is more than dates being a food to have with coffee, or its food products, but it has taken on cultural and historical forms. Recently, Omani dates have been represented at it has international festivals. Omani dates have been circling the sea since ancient times, when Captain Austin carried the seeds of an Omani date called "Al Fard" to be cultivated by US farmers in South Carolina
The existence of dates has been closely linked to the Omani’s life since long ago, as the Omani land in Oman was the appropriate place to grow different kinds of palm trees, each with their own, distinctive taste which differentiate from the taste, forms, colors and usage. Apart from the dates, some parts of the trees are used. For instance, they use some of the tree part in manufacturing furniture and in various household items and utensils.
The dates or harvest season in Oman, lasts from May till November. During the harvest, people have some practices that boost the community solidarity such as “ Raqat”, “Faghoor” and others.
Dibs: syrup extracted from dates
Daan: a large piece made of wooden sticks tied together and used for drying dates
Raqat: the act of people collecting dates
Faghoor: cooked dates that are served as a dessert
She stepped in the Barchan dunes with ultimate pride like an Arabian bride. The golden threads of the sun reflected an ethereal aura around her bright white skin, like a pearl in the heart of the desert. Her charming eyes observed the deep desert as if looking for a lost being.
Suddenly, she moved her hooves slowly in horror; her horns sensed an enemy, perhaps behind the bushes. Her ears shivered with fear; it was behind the tree. She should have been more careful and not leave the herd. She heard it! Stepping on the leaves! This time it wasn’t a snake she could kill with one kick, but a striped hyena with sharp teeth.
They looked at each other, hiding different intentions. The hyena suddenly attacked, but the Oryx was faster. She had to run for her life, but she couldn’t take the right path and risk exposing the whole herd and the other path was full of moving sands; she drew nearer! She had to make a decision! She jumped skillfully, leaving behind a hyena swallowed by the sands.
The Arabian Oryx is an endangered species that has been given great attention locally and internationally. A number of sanctuaries were established protecting the Oryx from hunters, such as the one in Jiddat Al-Harasis in the Sultanate of Oman.
Silence reined over the green space. Did the clock stop working? Was it the end? So we lost, but why were the other teams’ team’s crowds are so quite so quiet then? He turned to his father who was standing like a statue. He pulled on his hand many times, but he seemed to have lost all his senses.
That was bewildering to him, since when he Mohammed asked his father to buy him tickets for the final match, and kept pleading about going to the final match with his father, he had refused. After many days of crying and nagging and with his grandmother’s support, his father finally bought the tickets. But why was he now so involved?
He turned around to see people behind him, hands clasped together, eyes fixed on the goal and the only sound he could hear was of hearts beating like drums. He sat back in his seat, anticipating. Nothing to be worried about, he thought. His grandmother had reassured him saying there was no way his team was going to lose. Why was his forehead sweating then? Fear is contagious; time was barely passing. A minute later the screams of the crowds awakened him, coming together in waves of joy: “Faiz! Faiz! Faiz!”
Oman Football National team won the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup in 2017. Oman played against Emirates and won on penalties when Faiz Al-Rushaidi, Oman’s goalkeeper, saved two penalty shots.
She was busy looking at the animated stories, talking to herself and laughing with joy. She sent smiles full of life to her father, who as enjoying the beauty of her angelic face. A visage of innocence and girlhood. Is she really that beautiful? Or is he exaggerating her beauty because she is his daughter?
A flashback took him to the day of her birth. Mixed feelings of fear and worry; he didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl, but wanted both the baby and the mother to be healthy. But his daughter wasn’t. The doctors said she was born with Down Syndrome, causing a delay in her mental and speech development. He was speechless, overwhelmed by the shock. Why his daughter? From all the newborn babies in the hospital, his daughter was the one. He took her in his arms but couldn’t understand it. She looked perfectly healthy and beautiful. He named her Farhah, hoping her name would bring her back they joy that life had already taken from her. Above all, she had been his first baby, one that he had been longing to meet; she brought his injured heart joy and comfort. He whispered in her ears with affection and love: “Welcome, Farhah.”
Ten years have passed and Farhah is becoming more beautiful and joyful every day. Her parents had been worried about her future, but not since she joined the Care and Rehabilitation Center for People with Special Needs where she was engaged with her peers. He took her on his lap and she started telling him about her day in school with great excitement.
Oman was the first at the Gulf level in the children’s rights Index, which was published by the International Children Rights Foundation “KidsRights”. It guarantees all childhood rights including health and education.
Farhah: The equivalent word for joy in English
Although it was a bit foggy, she could see the green meadows stretch as far as the horizon. It wasn’t her first visit to this place; she was amazed at its heavenly beauty every time she came. She wondered how a city could encapsulate all the words for beauty in one view. She meditated on the painting in front of her, the view that captivated her soul at first sight; high green mountains, hot water springs, upright evergreen trees and cattle herds passing from one time to another.
A shepherd caught her eye, with the heavy woolen fabric protecting his chest from the cold and another piece of clothing around his waist; but his long, curly hair flowing behind him every time his bare feet stepped on the grass was the first thing her eyes fell on. He took his wooden stick and started singing sweet, sad melodies. She didn’t understand the words, but it seemed that the camels did. They calmed down as if enjoying the tunes. The unbelievable chemistry between the two creatures astonished her even more. She followed the herd with her eyes till it disappeared between the mountains.
She sat in the misty green grass feeling as if her soul was at one with nature. She was the meadows and the hills. She inhaled the fragrance of nature for the last time before leaving, knowing this wouldn’t be her last visit to this wonderful place.
Salalah Tourism Festival takes place in Dohfar in the Sultanate of Oman from July to August in the Khareef (monsoon) season. It hosts different events and activities including musical shows and the cultural village.
Janoob: The equivalent word for south in English
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