Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Experience Omani Culture During Eid Days

One thing that I have noticed is that quite a few tour companies in Oman offer tours of traditional Omani villages on the very first day of Eid...which is great, if you have an interest in Omani cuisine, and photographing the Eid prayer and cute Omani kids in general. The first day of both Eids usually involve food, getting dressed up (maybe in traditional dress), cutting meat, and in some villages [usually the ones on the tourist itinerary] preparing the shuwa (traditional Omani dish). I however, find that from a photography point of view, beyond all the cute little Omani kids in traditional dress, this to be an uneventful day as a guest or onlooker.

Of course, if you are involved in the food preparation and going to the Eid prayers (which are super early in the morning), it is, instead, just exhausting;).

Here is my guide to enjoying other Eid activities (if you happen to be an outsider, these are usually more to taste):

The second day of Eid many Omani families share their food (especially skewers of grilled meat in the early to late evening). Also, many traditional villages have a singing/dancing/drumming event late afternoon to early evening called "azwah" [as pictured in the photographs here].

Some villages also arrange rifle/marksmanship contests and sword skills contests on this or on a fourth day of Eid holidays. If you are a male tourist/traveler, if you ask some of the younger guys in one of these traditional villages, they've been known to allow one to come to the event (usually not hosted in the village itself), photograph it, and maybe even help you to get there. For ladies, not so much;). We have to make due with watching the Azwah, and visiting in our best clothes;).

The third day of Eid is the best Eid day from a guest perspective, as there is usually the "azwah" drumming/singing in the late afternoon, with sword dancing/skills contest, and also, the Omani shuwa dish is served. Most Omanis share;) especially if asked, even if they don't like tourists in general;). It would be impolite not to.