Muscat – Following announcement of the sighting of the moon of Dhul Hijja confirming the first day of Eid al Adha on July 9, Oman is now abuzz with excitement about an anticipated nine-day break even though the authorities have not announced the number of holidays.
The moon sighting committee of the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs (MERA) announced the sighting of the moon for Dhul Hijja 1443 AH on Wednesday. Consequently, Thursday, June 30, will be Dhul Hijja 1, 1443AH, and Saturday, July 9, the first day of Eid al Adha.
This Eid al Adha will be special because Oman, and most parts of the world, is no longer in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions attached to it. With all precautionary measures lifted, most are looking forward to celebrate in a more relaxed atmosphere than the last two years.
A long Eid break is seen to benefit the local tourism industry, especially in Salalah, as many will want to spend such a long break there. “Families across Oman are looking forward to celebrate Eid and many of them will use the long holidays to go to Salalah to enjoy good weather. Many cannot afford international travel. Salalah is always a good option,” a Muscat-based travel consultant said.
Mwasalat announced that it has increased its daily frequency to Salalah from three to six starting July 1. In a statement, Mwasalat said with the increase in daily trips between Muscat to Salalah, it will offer nearly 600 seats per day.
The increase in Mwasalat’s services is in line with a framework of its promotional plan for khareef season. The company will run regular routes for passengers to Salalah, Sahel Atin Airport, Salalah Port and other vital destinations.
Eid holidays have traditionally been a social occasion when family and friends came together. “We anticipate a nine-day break and if it so happens, I look forward to a gathering of family and friends at a farmhouse. But we are yet to get confirmation because most farmhouses are already booked,” said Amerat resident Abdullah al Balushi.
Being one of the most anticipated festivals in the Islamic calendar, elaborate preparations start weeks before the day, involving shopping, planning outings and travelling for some.
“Eid celebrations are important for Muslims and hence deserve adequate preparations. We missed the real feel of the festival in the last two years. So we are happy that this time will be full of activities, as all COVID-19 restrictions have been removed. I have finished all my Eid shopping and I am now considering ways of enjoying the long break. I just hope the authorities announce the holidays early so that we can plan ahead,” said Yaser Abdullah, a private sector employee. He is currently considering flight options to Azerbaijan.
Unlike earlier, Oman now has the same number of holidays for both government and private sector employees for long breaks like Eid. “This helps us plan get togethers with family and friends during holidays,” said Khalfan al Obaidani, a state-owned entity employee.
Shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories, jewellery and gift items have been witnessing heavy rush in the last few days. With shopping centres and malls wooing customers with special Eid offers, the Consumer Protection Authority is monitor markets for irregularities.
Muscat Municipality, too, will be make inspection visits during Eid al Adha to commercial establishments, including restaurants, cafeterias and foodstuff shops, besides slaughterhouses.