3 Holidays in 2 Months, Omani Dress and Traditions on Full Display

Kelsy Wilson is a Young Explorer Grant Recipient, Project Leader, and master’s student in Anthropologie et les métiers du développement durable (Anthropology and Sustainable Development), at the Université d’Aix-Marseille 1 in Aix-en-Provence, France.


This autumn has been a season of festivity in Oman with three very important celebrations arriving one after another in the short span of two months. The first two festivals, Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, are important Islamic holy days, and are separated by about a month’s time (on the Gregorian calendar). The first is a celebration of the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, and the second a “Feast of the Sacrifice”. Finally, the end of November brought the yearly-celebrated Eid-al-Witani in Oman, both a festival of the anniversary of Oman’s ‘Renaissance’ beginning in 1970 and his Majesty, Sultan Qaboos’, birthday.

These festivals are times for families to come together and share special meals (such as shuwa, or roasted meat); it is also a time when many Omanis will wear new and colorful dress and may celebrate with traditional dances and other ceremonies.  During Eid-al-Adha, children go visit their extended families and receive gifts of money (usually a few hundred baisas, the equivalent of a dollar or two, from each person they visit). Eid-al-Witani brings many different ceremonies, and national colors (red, green and white) can be seen everywhere, from car stickers to hanging posters of the Sultan on homes, to colorful lights all around the cities and villages.

The images in this blog post, a collection of photographs taken by some of the women in the project and myself, capture some important elements of the festivities and, in particular, Omani traditional dress.


Bibliography :

Mols, L., 2009, From Khanjars to Tweezer-Cases: Omani Weapons and Accessories for Men, in Oman, ed. by Mols, L. and Boelens, B., Die Nieuwe Kerk: Amsterdam.

Vogelsang-Eastwood, G, Al-Zadjali, J., 2009, Omani Dress, in Oman, ed. by Mols, L. and Boelens, B., Die Nieuwe Kerk: Amsterdam.


Learn More

More posts from Kelsy

National Geographic’s Guide to Oman

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Kelsy is a master's student in Applied Anthropology and Sustainable Development at the Université d'Aix-Marseille in Aix-en-Provence, France.