Praise the nation and the people who contribute to the country’s human development. It's that sense of triumph: much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done. The wheel doesn’t stop, but it can be adjusted.
It is time for celebrations with parades, camel and horse races, fireworks, music, and performances to mark the country’s 52nd anniversary. Oman’s National Day, on November 18, is to commemorate the unification of the nation and its independence.
There is no single template for how countries choose their national day, but the occasion is an opportunity for patriotic sentiments to be expressed and a narrative of a multifaceted nation-building strategy incorporating economic achievements, cultural richness, and political dimensions to be upheld.
The festive mood is palpable as one drives through the streets of the capital and other cities and villages across the country: masterpieces created with lights and the colours of the flag fill hearts with national pride.
Thank you, to those who design how the decorations are displayed; thanks to the workers who put the lights and flags up. Your efforts provide us with splendid gratification. You, the men and women of Oman - and we foreigners - make this country great.
Like plants, we grow, produce, share, enjoy, learn, and teach; we do good, and many times we make mistakes. Each sunrise, and every sunset are loaded with decisions. We don’t have to be in a rush to be wrong, and we don’t have to be sluggish to succeed. And this brings us to the popular saying that “birds do not go to music school but compose timeless masterpieces.”
Music plays a big role in the country, and it is an integral part of important events. Typically, for the national day celebrations, each region prepares its festivities by tapping on local cultural traits. Music can be said to be classified as “sea music’ and “desert music’. Both styles are captivating, with performers singing and dancing while telling a story based on their daily activities.
Some examples of sea music are shallat al-baura for pulling the anchor of a boat, nazag sheraa for pulling the sail, and yarah mashumah for rowing the boat. Then, there are the musical cultures of those from the plains and those from the mountains, with common themes of melancholy and travel.
Following that, is the national anthem, which, like in every other country, is played and sung at the most solemn moments. It fosters the national spirit, instilling feelings of pride and patriotism. Tragedy and triumphs: the love for the homeland and its leadership.
Dancing is another way to mark important cultural festivities. The sword dance is one of the most delightful celebrations. This national dance has its historical roots in sword fights between men to demonstrate dominance. It brings us to the popular adage: “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance”. In other words, it takes inner strength to publicly dance in front of judging eyes.
Another fascinating and special tradition happens in the Dhofar region called Al Bar’ah, which includes a warlike dance and the chanting of poetry in a local tribal dialect. It is about strength, courage, generosity, and hospitality. I love watching all these performances. They are both enlightening and educational.
Within the new Renaissance framework, Oman, at 52, is a young state in this uncertain world scenario, but it is a land that has a glorious history going back thousands of years. The work must continue; we cannot escape our responsibilities; and if we are worth our salt, we shall be grateful for the opportunities presented to us.
With the strong force of a talented young population and the solid foundations of the last few decades, future success is certain. Let’s celebrate.