How important are traditions in Oman?
Traditions are still very important in Oman. These include the five calls to prayer and observance of religious holidays. Men and women sit separately in public. At festivals, women have their own tent just like men. It is celebrated separately.
Men like to sit together in the markets and cafes and talk. But today you can see young women sitting together in Oman and exchanging news. This is possible in the larger cities of Oman, but it is even more difficult in the countryside, as the rural areas are more attached to the old traditions that prescribe a separation between men and women.
Anyone entering a house in Oman is offered a coffee. This is cooked from green beans and cardamom. It is served in a special jug, but without sugar. The guest can be refilled, that’s not a problem, but actually the custom dictates that the second time there is no refilling. However, it is important to be careful here, because coffee in Oman is usually very strong.
Music in Oman
Omani music is different from the music we know from Arab countries. Influences from Africa and India make the difference. In Oman, music often includes dance, i.e. movement. The Omanis especially like to dance on solemn occasions. Whether fisherman or farmer, seafarer or Bedouin, the music, the old songs and dances are among the most important traditions of the country. There has even been an opera house in Oman since 2011, the Royal Opera House in the capital Muscat with its own orchestra. This is so far unique in the Arab world. Many classical operas are performed here, which are also performed in western countries. Check computerannals to see more articles about this country and Middle East.
Clothing in Oman
In Oman, people pay great attention to their clothing and many items of clothing are still in keeping with the country’s old traditions. It is especially important for state employees to wear traditional clothing at work. In everyday life it is handled a little more relaxed, but here too there are strict regulations for clothing for men and women.
What do men in Oman wear?
The men wear a robe or dress that goes down to their ankles. This is called Dishdasha. It is mostly white, although other colors are quite common in Oman. A tassel hangs on the collar and smears it with fragrance oils, because a good smell is very important to the Omanis. At official and solemn appointments, the men put a brightly colored coat over the dress, which is called a bisht. There is also the traditional silver dagger, the Kanjar. Such a dagger is of great value to an Omani.
What is also important is what you wear on your head and in Oman that is a kumma, a small round cap. On solemn occasions, a kind of headscarf is wrapped around it again, called the massar, which is available in many different colors.
And the women?
Many women wear the abbaya in public. It’s a black coat. This often conceals – especially among city dwellers – expensive and fashionable clothing. At home, the women take off their coats and in the family circle, modernity emerges.
Often women also wear trousers called sirwal. It is quite wide at the waistband and narrow at the ankles. Over it they wear a shirt that reaches to their knees, the kandoura. Often this is embroidered and then matches the trousers.
Who wears a face mask?
Hair is covered with a headscarf outside. Bedouin women in particular still wear a kind of face mask, the burqa. However, this means something different than the burqa in Afghanistan, which covers the whole body. In earlier times, the burqa was mainly worn to protect against sun and sand.
Apart from the Bedouin women, it is not customary in Oman to wear a face veil. However, many women wear a headscarf called Lahaf, which women wear in many different colors, not just black.
What is a sheikh anyway? We sometimes mistake a sheikh for a kind of king. But the term actually means something else, namely “wise man”. In the old days the leaders of a tribe were called that. “Sheikh” is an honorary title. This honorary title is given to you. A sheikh is held in high regard, but not unlimited power.