As the holy month is drawing to a close and people start preparing for Eid, a time-tested tradition, too, is coming alive. The habta market is a open souq where vendors come from around the country to sell cattle, traditional clothes, accessories, toys, and handicraft like the khanjar (daggers), assa (walking sticks), and kumma (embroidered Omani caps). A wide range of delicacies such as the Omani halwa, dates, fruits, and spices, many of which are homemade or grown, are also on offer.
People gather and arrange such habta markets in different places of various wilayats across the country. In Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid alone, there are four habtas, that will start on Ramadhan 27 in Al Khalediya village and continue in Omq, Al Musalha, and Hawiriya souqs. Al Thabity village habta will be held in the Wilayat of Ibra followed by Al Yahmadi Habta that will begin on Ramadhan 25. Several other habtas, such as Al Safala Habta in Ibra as well as the Wilayat of Al Rustaq, Sur, Samayil, Wadi Al Maawil, Bidiya and Al Khabourah will begin on Ramadhan 26.
Other wilayats will host the habtas starting the next day. Many acclaimed habtas such as Jaalan Bani Bu Ali, Suwaiq, Bahla, Barka, Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan, Nakhl and Al Seeb are getting all set to welcome the shoppers on Ramadhan 27.
Local traders say that wilayats of Al Kamil W’al Wafi and Al Qabil will be abuzz with habtas starting on Ramadhan 28. Historically, all habtas will be open at 11 am and remain until the midnight catering to people from various corners of the wilayat.
Omanis tend to visit different habtas in nearby wilayats in search of the best goods as well as to enjoy the atmosphere prevailing at the traditional souqs and touch base with their old friends.
Various elderly citizens say habtas offer Omanis, from elderly to youngsters, a place to gather and sell and buy goods there.
Arwa Al Khayari and Rawaa Said