Christmas in Oman

Life is hard Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

It may not shock to hear that life in the Middle east is a touch different to that in the west. We all know the place is an apocalyptic Mad Max-esque war zone, overrun with crazed, hyper-violent religious extremists. We’ve all seen the news. The Arab world is a dangerously volatile, geopolitical mess.

Arabs... fanatical and scary. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Arabs… fanatical and scary.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

Well… that’s what I’ve heard.

Fortunately though I live in one of the safest, friendliest and most peaceful countries on Earth. It’s just north of Yemen, east of Saudi Arabia and south of Iran.

The calculatedly understated Sultanate of Oman invariably surprises, not only because of the country’s stunning natural beauty but also the diverse, tolerant and harmonious nature of the population. This is of course an Islamic country, but here in Oman almost half the population are expatriates like myself, and the disarmingly relaxed and friendly Omanis comprise the world’s only predominantly Ibadi nation. The upshot of this? Well, here the Sunni and Shia pray peacefully, side by side. Christians go to church. Buddhists visit the temple during the full moon. Friends meet up in the sports bars and nightclubs, and dress as they choose on the public beaches.

This isn't Saudi Arabia... that's next door. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
This isn’t Saudi Arabia… that’s next door.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

A couple of years ago I took a visiting friend to the local market to grab some things for dinner. Being his first night in the exotic middle east, he grabbed his camera and we set off by camel Kia to the local souq local supermarket.

“Man… it’s just like home,” he said… somewhat surprised.

Of course, it’s not exactly like the west. There are more spices.

I've never heard of some of these... Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
I’ve never heard of some of these…
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

For the most part though, shopping in Oman isn’t quite the chaotic, donkey-infested, snake-charmer infused labyrinthine assault on the senses that some westerners imagine the Arab world to be. Of course, those kinds of places are indeed scattered about the Middle East and North Africa… they’re for tourists.

This isn't real life. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues.
This isn’t real life.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues.

Omanis prefer the mall. They like air-conditioning. They like coffee shops and food courts. They like sitting and chatting. Omanis like going to the movies. They like upgrading their phones.

And then of course, in December… there’s this.

Christmas in Oman, City Center Mall, Muscat Photo: Peninsularity ensues
Omanis checking out the Christmas decorations… Muscat, Oman.
Photo: Peninsularity ensues

Yes, it’s Christmas time in the Middle east… well some of it anyway.

Christmas Day isn’t a public holiday here. This isn’t a Christian country. It also isn’t anything like the Arab/Middle-eastern stereotypes perpetuated by western media. And so, from some poolside Christmas drinks with colleagues and friends…

Life is hard Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Life is hard
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

Merry Christmas from beautiful Oman.

Peace.

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72 Comments on "Christmas in Oman"

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Guest

Aamir Ismail

Guest

Merry x mas

Guest

merry xmas to all.

Guest

Merry Christmas to all

Avantika
Guest

Even Hindus have their place of worship in Oman … There are two temples and we are allowed to celebrate our festivals in a similar way as its been celebrated in our home country. Here’s wishing you all and your loved ones Merry Christmas and a blessed year ahead.

Guest

Merry xmas to you too

Guest

Merry Christmas to all OFW here in Oman, enjoy our Christmas season in this very friendly and peaceful country where we earned our monthly income, advance Happy new year too

Mars
Guest

Merry Christmas

Guest

Merry Christmas

Guest

Merry Christmas to all!

Guest

This is our Oman and pray to continue be peaceful
All these because of his majesty’s wisdom & insight

Guest

Oman is ine of the Best Country in the world. H.M. is a great leader .

Guest

This year the Christmas did meet the Day that the profit Mohamad 3alayhe salat wa Salam. So we have 2 holiday to celibate.
Oman is a beautiful county and the Omanis ar nice peaceful people.
The only way to find out is the visit.

Guest

It is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate birthday.

Guest

Merry Christmas to all

Guest

it is realy hard to be on28*c with glass of beer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Guest

Merry Christmas 2 everyone n a happy holiday :::::

Guest

Kirk Cyrus Nada

Guest

Domingo S. Buendia Christian Sandor Badana Ydirin

Guest

I love this country soo much en OMANI H.M he is a great leader en kind very lovery country merry X-mass en happy new year big ups

Guest

Welcome to our beloved Oman , May the almighty Allah bless it with peace and security and shower his blessings to his magesity Sultan Qaboos and grant him with health .

Guest

Merry Xmass to all

Guest

Merry Christmas Thahani

Guest

Merry Christmas to all. And all my kabayan….

Guest

Merry Christmas. Taga saan ang Magpoc ninyo? Mayrun ako pinsan Roland Magpoc

Guest

Bataan po ang tatay ko

Guest

Kilala ko po sya

Guest

Merry Christmas to everyone in Muscat. Must leave for a while to spend Christmas holidays at home. Cheers!

Guest

Wauuuuuuu

Guest

Merry christmas, from sohar, oman…:)

Guest

Merry Christmas to all and loved this beautiful country Oman with so nice local Omanis and excellent leadership by His highness.

Guest

merry xmas u special people and happy new year.

Guest

Merry x mass to all!

Guest

Merry Christmas from salalah Oman,thank u for the holiday.

Guest

Merry christmas from Seeb…this year was specially warm with some friends(mostly latinos)..first time at Muscat .. blessings to All expatriates and good will for this beloved country which is now our home.

Guest

Merry christmas happy birthday prophet mohammad oman is is nice and peacefull country nice people thanks u ur majesty Sultan Q god bless u long long life and good healht im 21 years living in this beautiful country,

Guest

Merry crsmas

Guest

Merry Xmas too frm Nizwa. By could enjoy more if in Kenya.

Guest

Happy Christmas

Guest

Merry Christmas to all

Guest

Merry Christmas to all..I really enjoy my Christmas here ..I love Oman….

Guest

Merry Christmas to everyone in Muscat. In this country we allowed to celebrate any festival, im 30 years living in this beautiful country, Love u Oman.

Guest

We’re still celebrating Christmas. We are happy coz we can still celebrate Christmas here in Oman. ☺️

Guest

Boun. Natala

Terence Pereira
Guest

Nicely done! Merry Christmas!

Guest

We spend it in desert

mercy Gerald
Guest

Happy holiday season to all

Guest

Happy Christmas to you all. I am also from Oman. Enjoy the party time. http://www.nthwall.com wishes you all Happy Christmas.

Guest

Merry x’ MA’s from al GOBRAH.WE LOVE OMAN .I CELEBRATED X’ MAS IN OMAN SIX TIMES.SO BEAUTIFUL AND PEACEFUL COUNTRY OMAN .HAPPY TO STAY OMAN.THANKS TO HIS MAJASTY SULTAN CABOOSE BIN SAID

Guest

merry Christmas sa mga kababayan ko

Guest

I enjoyed your article and I also think Oman is a wonderful country. However, you must realize that Muscat is a cosmopolitan area and cannot be compared to the rural, conservative and narrow minded areas that comprizes most of Oman. We teach in a rural town 3 hours from Muscat. My flatmate is a young British woman and she has been subjected to numerous cases of sexual harassment and disrespectful behavior. There is a dark side to Oman as well.

Guest

Thanks for the message. Yeah, I realise of course that there is good and bad everywhere… and of course, my post was clearly about Muscat life. I’ve traveled a fair bit in Oman, and I know what you’re talking about. My home is in Muscat though, and I just wanted to focus on the positives. 😉

Guest

I think it must be great to live in Muscat. I have friends there and visit them sometimes. It’s civilization.

Guest

My Omani friends wish me Merry Christmas and I have invited an Omani friend for Christmas lunch 🙂

Guest

Merry Christmas en Happy New year….Muscat.

Guest

Nice Article posted though….very much significantly true