Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Omani Khanjar

The symbol of Oman is of two khanjars, one for Muscat, and for Oman, as the Sultanate used to be two countries more or less until Sultan Taimur (Sultan Qaboos' father) kind of bombed the Interior/won it and Sultan Qaboos more or less earned its trust. The Omani man's dress traditionally consisted of the white dishdasha, the mussayr headwrap (the kuma round hats came later, from Oman's African Empire in Zanzibar), a khanjar dagger intricate with silver work, two assa sticks [one for formal occasions and 1 for daily use], a rifle, a belt of ammunition [or more], and in my village, a sword, and sheild. Of everything, the khanjar is my favourite (plus you can't buy a real sword anymore, in our village the real ones are owned by the tribe and are held by the sabla for special occasions or teaching traditional fighting methods and dancing]) But you can still find a real khanjar if you are willing to pay for the quality.

My first souvenir of Oman ever was a khanjar, from Nizwa, practically gifted, as we were owed a favour by the shopkeeper. It was a choice between a traditional necklace (which was worth more cuz my khanjar was a 'Said' tourist number) and the khanjar, and I went khanjar. Well, that khanjar was gifted to a little boy from UAE, and I am possibly in the market for a new one, only something 'real'. Most khanjar are not authentic weapons anymore, though there are some men in Sur and Nizwa that can make them for a price, usually 200-300 rials depending on the price and what you ask for. This is because they are now worn in Oman in a decorative nature, though my husband's khanjar saw some real action in the past with his father and grandfather.

In our village the older men complain of the younger ones not even owning khanjars anymore, and to me it seems everyone has their khanjars on for weddings and even sabla, but I guess they mean, they guys only have ornamental ones. Same with women not knowing archery and swimming and riding anymore, which when Islam came to Oman, they did;), and how to climb the mountains for firewood.

I guess that is why the elders in the village always make sure to sing and teach the young a traditional love song every Eid, about a man who is willing to sell everything he owns to be able to be with the woman he loves (if Allah wills it;) ) from his farms, to his household, everything that is... except his khanjar.

No comments: