This past Saturday marked the 47th celebration of the National Day of Oman, a celebration that marks the anniversary of the country’s liberation from Portuguese control in 1650.
With the exception of a brief Persian occupation in the 1740s, Oman has been independent ever since, avoiding dominance by the various European powers of the 19th century.
Celebrations took place within the Omani capital of Muscat, where Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Said personally led a military procession through the city streets, which had been adorned with lights and flags bearing national colours.
As well his His Majesty the Sultan, the parade was attended by representatives of the Omani Armed Forces, including the Sultan’s Armed Forces, the Royal Guard of Oman, the Royal Oman Police, as well as representatives of the Royal Court.
As well as a parade, the event was marked with numerous displays of traditional Omani music and dance. The event ended with a 30-minute fireworks display.
In honour of the occasion, numerous businesses within Oman offered generous discounts as countless Omani expatriates flooded home to take part in the celebrations. Oman Air, the national carrier, slashed fare prices by 47% until the 20th of November, with the last available flight being the 31st of May next year. Many hotels and restaurants are also offering special promotions, which were doubtlessly very gratefully received by returning Omani citizens and tourists alike.
His Majesty, along with Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court and Chairman of the Civil Service Council, also took the opportunity to announce a public holiday for civil servants to be held from the 3rd to the 5th of December to honour the birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed. The Minister of Manpower issued a similar decree for the private sector, again to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.
The day also marks the Sultan’s 77th birthday, providing a double celebration for the Omani monarch. Sayid Khalid, in light of the occasion, gave thanks to the Sultan for his many long years of wise, temperate rule, and publicly prayed for His Majesty’s continuing good health and prosperity.