Sultanate erupts in joy, festivities

MUSCAT, Nov 18 – The Sultanate on Sunday marked its National Day with citizens and residents alike joining the celebrations. From military parade to fireworks and light displays to decorated cars and homes, the 48th National Day was celebrated with passion and pride. “November 18 is an emotional day for us. This is the day we renew our pledge to stand united with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos as he put his heart, mind and soul to make this country a modern state,” said Said al Jabri, a retired teacher. The celebration fever was evident as he was distributing tiny national flags and balloons in red, green and white to his grandchildren.
“We are proud to be citizens of this generous country and grateful to His Majesty. Today we have everything that a country and its citizens ought to have,” he said. The festivities portrayed Oman’s glory, pride and progression. Revellers were seen waving flags and holding the posters of His Majesty on the streets.
At offices, employees exchanged greetings and expressed their feelings of love and loyalty towards His Majesty, for all the achievements in building a modern country for the past 48 years.
“The best way to celebrate the day is by cherishing the development of Oman. It is also a day to remember the vision of His Majesty,” said Faisal al Lawati, a bank employee.
People also wore special shawls and badges reflecting the spirit of their love for Oman and its leader, showing their love and loyalty to the country and took pride in the achievements.
The Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) celebrated the day with the memorable hashtag ‘Your University Celebrates’.
The main celebration, held at the garden near the university’s clock tower, was marked by a huge turnout of students and employees from different colleges and units of the university. At the venue and elsewhere on the campus, celebration fever was evident with national flags and pictures of His Majesty waving in the wind and in the hands of everyone. SQU camel corps and cavalry organised an equestrian show at the venue. The military band of the Royal Guard of Oman played music that evoked the spirit of patriotism, pride and love for the nation. Omani traditional music and dance performances and processions also livened up the festivities.
Offices in both government and private sectors were decorated with flags and festoons in addition to colourful lights.
Adding to the festive mood was the distribution of sweets and cakes.
“The weekend aided to the celebrations as we could roam around the city to see the lighting and decorations.
“There is no match to the way Oman celebrates its National Day,” said Abdul Aziz, an Indian expatriate.
In colleges and schools, students in traditional attire, sang songs and recited poems in honour of His Majesty.
Business was good for caterers with orders galore for food. At shopping malls and hotels, cultural events were hosted with displays of dhows, frankincense and crafts such as pottery and carpet-weaving.
Tourists were entertained with traditional Omani sword-fighting dance at different venues. Reports indicate that camel and horse races were held in major towns. The Ministry of Tourism is organising various events in a number of wilayats during the holidays.
In Liwa, celebrations were held under the patronage of Shaikh Saeed bin Ahmed al Risi. It was organised by the General Directorate of the Municipality of Liwa.
The ceremony was attended by Mohammed bin Ahmed al Risi, Director-General of the Municipality of Liwa.
Yaqoob bin Salim al Risi recited patriotic poems on the occasion. On the sidelines of the ceremony, Mohammed al Risi opened an exhibition for Omani craftsmen.

SAMUEL KUTTY

(Inputs from Abdullah bin Salim al Risi)