Monday, December 5, 2011

Traditions in Oman to do with Having a Baby

So for some reason, either my net hook-up, or my blogger won't let me upload any images right now. I had saved alot of pretty pictures for images posts but those will all have to wait, and I guess, in the meantime, I have to post something of a little more substance. Here goes:

The traditions in Oman to do with having a baby, at least, as I have so far experienced. Traditions may differ, region to region:

#1 THE GUESTS

In Oman, when you have a baby, you are expected to stay home for a whole month, and have guests pounce upon you daily in droves. More than seven seperate sets of guests a day if you live close to your family and friends. Only these guests come for your care or entertainment. They bring with them food in the form of some kind of fruit to be sliced, and offer to cook for you or get you anything you may need. The only thing you are supposed to have on hand for them is freshly brewed Omani coffee [qahwa].

#2 HELBA

Helba powder, aka the herb also known as fenugreek, is pushed on you passionately by all village women. You are told to drink it in warm milk and to wash it down with honey. Honey is also pushed on you, and freshly slaughtered meat, and maybe some halawa (some sweet that I find just as gross as helba cooked in milk). These are all for your health, and the bitter dried and crushed helba seeds (which contribute to a bizarre boyd odour) is supposed to increase your milk supply for breastfeeding. The slaughtered meat, to keep the woman strong after delivery through her postpartum bleeding.

#3 ONLY INSANELY EXPENSIVE HONEY IS GOOD ENOUGH

Honey is supposed to help the woman who has just delivered recover and only "natural" honey will do. By natural honey, Omanis don't just mean honey pure with no additives made from the spit of bees. Which would be the definition of natural honey. I found this to be confusing at first. Oh no. What they mean is the insanely expensive honey collected from "WILD" bee hives. 70 rials for a Vimto size bottle. Al Shifa is totally okay with me. 10 rials for the same size bottle, and 100% natural. Just not wild.

#4 ARRANGED MARRIAGES

Inlaws start asking for reservations on the new baby. I think/hope they are joking, but possibly not. I have avoided agreeing to anything despite my bad Arabic.

#5 MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

It is a tradition to wrap money in the form of rials or bigger rial notes in a new baby's blanket. Expats, wanna know what we do instead of the baby shower? This.

#6 ISALMIC IQIQA

Under the "Omani Holidays" section on the OPNO sidebar this was already blogged about in detail, but in short, it is an Islamic tradition that a month after the birth, 2 sheep are slaughtered (or one, depending on hadith tradition) and the weight of the baby's shaved hair in gold is given away charity in thankfulness for the arrival of a healthy baby.

4 comments:

Boxie said...

Mashallah, sounds interesting. I have no clue why Honey is pushed so much. I don't like it much and the idea of eating it by the spoonful is scary. Hope you are having a good time.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Boxie: honey helps make breast milk. But for Omanis, the thing is have "couture" honey lol.

Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks for the Omani side of having a baby.

Your Canadian fan
LauraLee

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

LauraLee: from one of the Canadian OPNOs, thanks;)