With Eid al Fitr – the joyful occasion symbolising the end of the fasting month – is round the corner, the entire nation is all set to celebrate the joyful occasion. While Eid celebrations in the Sultanate differ from region to region, the festival brings in joyful feelings in accordance with Omani culture and traditions.
“After a long month of fasting, celebrating the Eid is a joy despite a tight wallet”, said Mubarak al Wahaibi, a resident of Ruwi. Prices of food and clothes are still high, despite sales and promotions, he said.
Most Omanis residing in Muscat began their shopping soon after the announcement of the holidays so that they could go to their hometowns in time to celebrate Eid with their kith and kin. To capitalise on consumers’ increased consumption during the festival season, most retailers in the city have their own promotions and deals across categories such as fashion clothing, shoes and handbags, consumer electronics, home appliances and many more.
“Buyers are showing a keen interest in shopping and there is good business as well,” said a sales executive at a leading shopping mall. He expects 10 per cent more sales this year thanks to the unique deals and discounts announced by the group.
Despite the multiplicity of markets and the variety of shopping through malls and commercial complexes, Omani citizens always look for the habta season. Habta markets are traditional, heritage events that are awaited by the citizens in the Sultanate. They are traditional markets that are held on the occasion of the Eid on open spaces of land or under the shade of palm trees, mangoes and Ghaf or near the castles and forts.
Habta markets witness huge turnout of citizens, residents and tourists. The Habta markets in all governorates and wilayats begin 10 days before the Eid and continue until the day before the Eid.
The Habta markets begin from 24-29 of the holy month of Ramadhan, initiated in the wilayats of Wadi Bani Khalid and Ibra in the Governorate of North Al Sharqiyah, the Wilayat of Bausher in the Governorate of Muscat and in Fanja in the Wilayat of Bidbid in the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah.
The market of Nizwa witnessed an active trade movement which included all branches of markets, which are the Western market, the eastern market, the fish market, the meat and livestock market and the habta markets which include crops and summer agricultural products of vegetables and fruits.
The Habta markets meet the needs of mother and child together, and provide many goods and commodities of toys and ready clothes in addition to the foodstuff to prepare many traditional Omani dishes and ‘barbecue’ items.
As well as the sale of light traditional weapons for males of different ages, such as guns, daggers, sticks, traditional belts, swords and Omani clothing including Almsar and Omani cap. Omani sweets shops (Al Halwa) are also crowded by citizens and residents to buy different kinds of sweets before the advent of the first day. Omanis are keen to buy Omani sweets at Eid Al Fitr holiday as it is a symbol of Omani hospitality.
Omani Halwa are an important part and essential as the duty of Omani hospitality especially in the holidays and events because of the quality and taste of delicious and its components, which are margarine, saffron, cardamom, rose water and nuts.
While the number of livestock cattle and sheep that were brought to sell were more than three 3100 local and imported cattle. Including 1600 sheep and 1,500 cows. Prices was not experienced a rise in prices. The prices of the sheep were from RO 100 to RO 280.
The prices of cows were from RO 350 to RO 900, which are considered very appropriate between the seller and the buyer. The sellers in the Habta pointed out that the percentage of sales of different types of livestock has recorded about 80 per cent of the sale, while a small percentage and small number of refunded or retrieved from these livestock from sale for not accepting the price.
Meanwhile, the Royal Oman Police and Customs Department have warned against the use of firecrackers or any attempt to smuggle them into the country. In a stringent warning, the ROP said, “It is strictly prohibited to burst firecrackers or fire celebratory gunshots. Offenders will face stiff penalties and jail terms.”
Checking at all official ports have been tightened to thwart any attempt to smuggle firecrackers into the country, said the statement. According to the police, those caught smuggling firecrackers could face a maximum prison term of three years and a fine of RO 3,000, while those bursting firecrackers could be fined up to RO 200 and a minimum of three months’ jail.
TEXT BY AMAL AL RIYAMI
PHOTOS BY SAMI AL HINAI