‘We are proud to be Omani’
Muscat – The National Day celebrations, which reflect the achievements of the sultanate in the last five decades, acquire a special significance this year. The general public in 2021 is even more jubilant thanks to the reassuring recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.
National Day is celebrated with great fervour every year; people decorate their vehicles with national symbols and portraits of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, and cities are lit up in green, red and white lights.
Amour Sultan al Nuumani, 68, described the National Day as time to remember Oman’s development journey, particularly where it started. “The country’s development has been rapid. I remember the time when Oman didn’t have proper roads, basic amenities or health facilities. But five decades later, we have everything. Oman has not only grown into a safe haven for its citizens but for expatiates, too,” he said.
The country’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities include the Grand Mosque, the Supreme Court building, Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, the ports in Duqm, Salalah and Sohar, and Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport.
The county’s rapid development is a dream come true. “National Day, in particular, is when all Omanis should be proud of their nation. The sultanate started developing only after 1970s. And now in 2021, there is no place better than Oman. We have good education, healthcare services, road networks and obviously good leadership. With all this, Oman is set to climb higher to the next level,” said Amerat resident Shamsa Hamad, 78.
On November 18, citizens dress up in the bright national colours, and wear badges and brooches symbolising the occasion. Since the beginning of the month, outlets across the country sell special National Day items.
Streets and building are illuminated, and flags and slogans raised to show devotion and gratitude for the country. “Every November, I celebrate the country’s progress by raising a flag at home. And on the day, I make it a point to wear a scarf in green, red and white. By doing so, I feel proud of my country,” said Obaid al Khaldi, a resident of Barka.
Over the past decades, Oman has made a clear mark in different arenas and made big differences in the lives of its citizens and residents alike. The least among these is the peace and harmony in the country which is recognised and appreciated all over the world.
Expatriates cherish National Day experience
Oman’s rich culture and history, along with the kindness shown by its citizens, has made this country a welcoming and loving home to expatriates from all over the world. With close to 1.67mn people in the sultanate being expats, many non-Omanis celebrate the National Day every year.
This significant day that recognises the country’s growth and achievements is celebrated with fireworks, decorations, coloured lights, parades, Omani food and music.
With 51st National Day just around the corner, the glowing lights and decorated cars give expats a chance to appreciate the country that has provided for and hosted them over the past years. Expatriates expressed their joy over the occasion.
Talking about the special and distinctive event, Kevin Schafer from the United States and director of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM), said, “Oman’s National Day celebrations are unique. Every year, I look forward to the festive spirit, with flags flying along the highways, cars decorated and buildings lit up with the tricolours.”
He described how the school celebrates the day.
“Seeing TAISM’s hallways decorated with the flags of Oman and pictures of His Majesty the Sultan, while hearing the Omani musicians perform for our students, brings great joy to our school community. I feel very fortunate to be a resident in this great country.”
Aloysius Saldanha, from India, has lived in this country for almost 30 years and works with Renaissance Services Group.
“Oman is a very friendly and scenic place. It’s a very well administered country. It has been a home away from home.”
When asked about the National Day, he said, “I take pride in being a part of it and the feeling of oneness with the Omani people. I will spend this holiday reaching out to as many of my Omani friends as possible to wish them well.”
He added that he feels very blessed to have the Omani experience.
Chandra Lahiri, retired CEO of Muriya and an expatriate from India, admires the country’s ability to embrace expats with open arms.
“At an airport in an alien land somewhere, watching an Oman Air flight land, the words come unbidden to your mind, ‘Ah, home!’ That, to me, is the most wondrous thing about Oman – its amazing ability to embrace us, expatriates, and make itself more truly home than even the diverse lands of our birth. The National Day marks yet another milestone in Oman’s renaissance, as we celebrate the country’s extraordinary transformation, over the decades, with happiness and hope. ‘Ah, Oman … home!’”
National Day is cherished by Omanis and expatriates alike throughout the country, as it allows them to recognise and honour their home together. The beautiful celebration is one several members of the community are fond of and look forward to every year. The red, white and green flag will be waved by many tomorrow.
Contributed by Zara Saldanha