SALALAH, Nov 18 – Salalah witnessed celebratory mood everywhere on Sunday on the occasion of 48th National Day as the city was painted with all shades of national symbols as a tribute to the nation and its leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Happiness was all pervasive with loyalty marches and parades of different kinds in which everyone, including nationals and expatriates, took part.
All the establishments — public or private — had some events or the other, while schools had organised competitions marking the day. The expatriates, living in the city or those who are on visit as tourists, were equally excited to see the enthusiasm and positive energy everywhere.
Some enthusiasts took out a march — on horses, camels and a pony — which gave a spectacular view compelling the residents to come out of their houses and children to follow the march. Starting from a horse farm located in Awqad, the march took a jig-jag route in the area and concluded finally at a local school.
Iker Elicegui Garciandia, General Manager at Arabian Sea Ports Services, is from Spain. He was really excited to take part in the march as he put on Omani national dress and a scarf with the pictures of His Majesty the Sultan.
“I am new to Salalah but never felt that I am new here. The people are so welcoming that I was comfortable here soon after my new assignment. The most striking factor for me is the Sultan’s popularity among the nationals and expatriates. I really liked my participation in the march also due to the fact that I am learning horse riding and I am enjoying it,” he said.
Iker Bailey, an English faculty member in Dhofar University, said, “This is my second month in Oman and I like celebrating Oman’s national Day the way Omanis do and it was really interesting. It was amazing to see residents coming out of their houses to be part of the march.”
The official event was hosted by Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, at Crowne Plaza Salalah Resort. He greeted the dignitaries and guests amid cheerfulness and general feeling of gratitude to the leader of the nation. A gala dinner was organised to mark the occasion.
Crowne Plaza also organised special programmes for the hotel guests, most of them were tourists and charter guests.
“Our guests were happy to be part of the National Day event as it was rare experience for them to see the country’s celebration and mood so closely. To make the day more memorable, some of them put on Omani national dress to show solidarity with the host country,” said Manuel Levonian, General Manager of the hotel.
With so many events lined up for the National Day, the celebrations are likely to continue for over a week as National Day holiday is starting from Tuesday up to Saturday.
Salalah Rotana Resort has decided to honour top performing students from different schools in Salalah as part of the hotel’s corporate social responsibility.
The city is fully decked up for the day with national flags and lightings. Salalah’s signature structure Al Nahda Tower has been decorated so nicely that it is catching everyone’s eyes and the traffic is getting slower than normal, as everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the decoration.