For Omanis, November is more than just the second last month of the year. It is the month of Oman’s National Day celebrations. And this year, Oman is celebrating the 49th National Day.
Citizens and expats alike join hands to show their love for Oman and Omanis make the best use of this month to show their patriotism.
People are decorating their vehicles with national symbols like the Royal Emblem, khanjars and portraits of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Omanis dress up in colourful clothes that symbolise the national flag and wear badges and brooches signifying the importance of this day. Outlets across Oman take advantage of the occasion and compete in offering goods and services at affordable prices. Some shops even have attractive ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ offers to increase their sales and profits.
Nizam al Din works at a small store in Ghala that specialises in National Day car decorations. He said that youngsters line-up to decorate their cars according to their tastes. “Some prefer to have their whole car decorated with the ‘national’ colours whilst others stick to just one side of the car. People of all ages come to have their cars decorated. They are eager to show their love for Oman and His Majesty the Sultan.” He said that the business gets a big boost this month every year. “Rates start at RO5 and keep going up depending upon the type of decoration.”
Throughout the sultanate, streets are illuminated with colourful lights and national flags are raised to show devotion and gratitude for the country.
Expats and Omanis also celebrate the occasion by buying National Day accessories, mementoes and memorabilia such as balloons, brooches, badges, wrist bands, stoles, scarves, caps, T-shirts and stationery items.
The bustling Muttrah Souq has many shops offering these items at affordable rates and people flock to buy them. Kids mostly enjoy buying flags whilst adults opt for badges and scarves and certain ‘car accessories’ like small pillows and small stickers. In his small shop, Ali has lined up National Day accessories at the front desk to attract shoppers. Ali said, “It is not only locals who enjoy buying these goods but tourists too. “Flags are very popular among tourists which they take home as gifts and souvenirs. We sell them for 200bz only and people love buying them.”
Ali added that children love to buy as many items as possible as they like to show off to their friends in schools. “Scarves are popular as they wear them to celebrate the day with their peers. Adults like to buy badges to wear at their workplaces.”
Ali did not disclose the amount of money he makes during this month but says ’these items are exclusive to the National Day celebrations and cannot be found in other months of the year’. “I receive more customers especially youth during this month.”
Shaima al Siyabi, a private sector employee, said that buying the National Flag is a top priority for her in November. “No National Day is complete without buying the flag, a scarf and other accessories. It is these items that distinguish National Day from other days of the year.
“Every year I make sure to buy a flag to hang in my car and a khanjar sticker that I stick on the car. Such items show that I stand in solidarity with everything Oman has given me.”
Likewise, Younis al Alawi, another private sector employee makes sure that he buys accessories of National Day every year. “While a scarf, stole and a flag are not enough to show your love for the country, they are both good ways to take part in the celebration. Not only are they affordable but it is also fun to buy a different scarf every year and wear it. I make sure I buy a scarf every November and two flags. One to hang on my rooftop while the other I keep in my room,” he said.
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