(Photo credits: alucard187)
Oman celebrated the first day of Eid al Fitr yesterday, a day after most of its neighboring Gulf states. The celebration, which culminates the end of Ramadan – the month of fasting, is determined after the sighting of the new moon, and not all countries, or sects for that matter, celebrate it on the same day.
The outbreak of swine flu in the Sultanate was also supposed to put a damper on Eid. The Government ran TV and newspaper campaigns urging people to take precautionary measures – such as avoiding giving hugs, kisses, or even shaking hands if possible during this event. The Ministry of Interior Affairs also ordered the Mayors of towns not to hold any public receptions for Eid. On the first day of Eid, unlike most other Eids, Oman TV did not broadcast Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed attending an Eid prayer.
However, the scare of Swine flu did not seem to take from the joy of people celebrating the first day of Eid. Instead of having mass public prayers areas, some places performed the morning Eid prayer in regular mosques which accommodated a smaller number of people than larger places.
Omani tweeps were making updates throughout the first day of Eid. Omanizer_muscat tweeted that even though OmanTV ran all these awareness messages, this was the Eid in which she had the most kisses ever!
The majority of people seemed to be going out and socializing without any fear of the flu as Alucard187 tweeted on the night of the first day of Eid that all the tables in restaurants in the capital Muscat seem to be fully taken. Otheroman also tweeted that the traditional Souq of Matrah seemed to have thousands of people hanging out around the corniche.
Makorani kept updating us with funny quotes she heard during Eid. Fatmanoor posted pictures of her homemade version of the traditional Omani Eid meat dish “Shiwa”, while alucard187 showed us pictures of the real thing getting dug up from the ground and unwrapped, and then ready to be eaten. Whole villages take part in the cooking of Shiwa, which consists of a whole cow or goat roasted for up to three days in an special oven prepared in a pit dug in the ground.
Eid al Fitr in Oman is celebrated over a period of three days after the end of the month of Ramadan.