MUSCAT, JUNE 2 – 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. 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. 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 in fish, poultry, cattle, vegetables and fruits.
Children also find Habta markets attractive as it offer toys, traditional sweets and Omani dishes. The markets also offer guns, daggers, sticks, belts, swords and Omani clothes.
Omanis are keen to buy Omani sweets at Eid al Fitr holiday as it is a symbol of Omani hospitality. Citizens and residents throng shops to buy Omani halwa which is delicious due to its ingredients like saffron, cardamom, rose water and nuts. At the livestock market, the prices of the sheep ranged from RO 100 to RO 280. The prices of cows were from RO 350 to RO 900.
Meanwhile, the Royal Oman Police 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 three years in jail 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.
Amal al Riyami & Samuel Kutty
Photos by Sami al Hinai