Islam is at the heart of Omani culture.
Omani food has strong Arabic, Lebanese, Turkish, and Indian influences. You’ll commonly find mezze style dishes available, and also plenty of fresh seafood and slow cooked meats.
Alcohol is only available in select restaurants and hotels and is usually pretty expensive. Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited, but you can get your own drinks to enjoy in privacy such as camping by beaches, sands, mountains, or actually in any remote areas. During Ramadan, drinking anything in public is prohibited, even for foreigners. Take care to drink in the privacy of your room.
Held during the three months of the khareef (monsoon), featuring assorted cultural attractions, sporting events, concerts and shopping promotions.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan represents a period in which to purify mind and body and to reaffirm one’s relationship with God. Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk, and as a tourist you will be expected to publicly observe these strictures, although you are free to eat and drink in the privacy of your own hotel room, or in any of the carefully screened-off dining areas which are set up in hotels throughout the city.
“Festival of the Sacrifice” celebrates the willingness of Abraham (or Ibrahim, as he is known to Muslims) to sacrifice his son Ismail at the command of God. The festival also marks the end of the traditional pilgrimage season to Mecca. Large numbers of animals are slaughtered during the festival. No alcohol is served on the day of the festival or on the day before.
Camel racing is an authentic Arab sport, and has evolved into an official and professional race where camels compete at speeds of up to 64 kilometres per hour on tracks specially built for this kind of race. Races take place mostly from October to April.
Women should dress modestly in public areas. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and tight-fitting clothing should be avoided. Shorts should never be worn in public and beachwear should only be worn at the beach or at the pool.
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. As much an anthropologist and ethnographer as traveller, in this classic book Thesiger records the nomadic life of the Bedu before the discovery of oil changed the region forever
The country's coastal location has strongly influenced the music of Oman, with sailors bringing back musical flavours from, Egypt, Tanzania and further afield. Its close neighbours such as the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran have also left their mark.
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