A journey to Ramadan rituals in Oman merged with tradition
Ramadan rituals vary from one country to another; starting with moonsighting as people observe fasting from the first day of the month until the last day, from dawn to dusk.
In Oman, people prepare at least one week in advance for the holy month of Ramadan, stocking up food supplies. When the Ramadan moon is seen, people gather in mosques for evening and Taraweeh prayers. After finishing the prayer, everyone greets and congratulates each other on the arrival of the holy month. They also visit their relatives and decorate the streets, shops and houses with lights and lanterns.
The Holy Month in Oman is a time when people strengthen their bonds and love through gatherings like Iftar (the act of breaking fast) that are spent with family and extended family at home. In addition to Iftar, there are other traditional times to gather with friends and family after dinner for game night or to play soccer and beach volleyball.
Another Ramadan tradition in Oman is the Al’thiker circle. After Taraweeh prayers, family and friends gather at their homes or the mosque for Al’thiker circles, where they sit in a circle and recite the Holy Quran and hadiths and share their knowledge with one another about history, religion and sometimes politics.
“Qaranqasho” is another cultural highlight in Oman during Ramadan. It marks the middle of the holy month, and is a special event held for the children. Children go around singing traditional songs and get sweets and money. It is celebrated across Gulf countries under different names.
Ramadan is a month of devotion and prayers, but it’s also time for charity and helping others. All charitable organizations in Oman offer donation and volunteer opportunities by starting special campaigns across the country.
Another old Omani tradition is habtat (plural for habta), which are open markets that see a large turnout of people and are held just a few days before the end of Ramadan and the first day of Eid. Each village has its own way of holding habtat but the general idea is the same.
Ramadan ends with committees preparing for the moon-sighting of Shawwal month. People also wait for the first day of Eid Al Fitr, the celebration that indicates the successful accomplishment of the Holy Month of Ramadan and lasts three days.
In Oman, Eid preparation usually happens weeks in advance; it is normal for the family to go shopping for new clothes as they are expected to be dressed in their best at this holy time. Three sets of clothing are usually purchased, one for each day of Eid.
Men usually wear the national dress (Dishdasha) and women can wear whatever they like, some wear Omani traditional clothes and some wear modern fashion.
It is important to look your best and wear perfume to show cleanliness with regards to both your personal hygiene and home. It is also customary for women to decorate their hands with Henna during last few days of Ramadan, and beautiful, elaborate designs adorn the hands of many women.
Cover credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV