Oman


Feast follows fasts as Omanis relish traditional delicacies


Shuwa preparation is one of highlights of the festivities. Right, mshakeek is a delicacy which every Omani looks to savour with friends and relatives. Photo: TIMES OF OMAN

Muscat: Although most people are back at work after the Eid Al Fitr festivities, most of them continue to be nostalgic about what a great time they had.

As with all Muslim countries, Eid is one of the most joyous occasions in the Islamic calendar for Omanis too. Most regions of Oman share some common practices when it comes to celebrations.

Recalling how he celebrated Eid, Huzaim Al Man'ai from wilayat of Shinas, said, "After Al Fajr (dawn) prayer, we wore new clothes, which was a traditional Omani dishdasha and ghutrah (rounded turban). We went for the special prayer, then visited families and exchanged Eid greetings with them.

To view more Eid celebration photos, http://www.timesofoman.com/PhotoGallery

"We also visited our neighbours to meet the elderly who were unable to attend Eid festivities as they could not leave their homes."

Recalling the first special breakfast after Ramadan, he said, "We have traditional dishes like Ursiyah, Khabbisah and margarine toasted in thick Omani bread."

Talking about Eid traditions in the Al Dakhiliyah region, Nasser Al Bimani said, "After the Eid prayers, some families started festivities by slaughtering a goat or a bull. Later in the afternoon, local traditional music and folklore such as Razha, Razfah and Aazi was performed."

He added, "Festivities continued on to the next day when we were all together to prepare the shuwa. We use special seasoning for shuwa which was prepared a few months ago. The marinated meat is packed in separate bundles (each house has its own bundle) and kept in an underground oven (previously dug for this custom)."

Talking about the festivities in his home, Salim Al Hakamani from the Al Sharqiyah region said, "Although it's not obligatory in the Islamic culture to make a sacrifice to Allah during this Eid, my family is accustomed to sacrificing a goat on the first day. The next day we did a different kind of Omani barbecue,  known as madhbi. This barbecue takes less time to prepare, compared to shuwa."

He added, "After marinating the meat, we keep it in an underground oven for about five to eight hours, then serve it for lunch."

However, like everyone else, Salim too loves the socialising aspect of Eid. He said, "Nowadays, with the advent of technology, people have become very busy. During Eid, we make a point to go offline, meet and exchange Eid greetings."

Horse racing and traditional folklore songs are among the activities that are strongly followed in the wilayat of Ibri.

"On the first day of Eid, villagers gathered in predesignated area and started singing traditional songs and danced to songs such as Al Ayyalah, Al Razha, Al Maydan and Al Wailah.

"Horse racing is something to look forward to as it lasts for two days," said Naser Al Shukaili, an Ibri resident.

Many Omanis preferred to spend the Eid holidays abroad to escape the soaring temperatures in the country as well as to experience some joy and visit new places.

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