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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Merry Christmas from beautiful Oman.
Merry x mas
merry xmas to all.
Merry Christmas to all
Merry xmas to all ‘
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.
Merry xmas to you too
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
Merry Christmas to all!
This is our Oman and pray to continue be peaceful
All these because of his majesty’s wisdom & insight
Oman is ine of the Best Country in the world. H.M. is a great leader .
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.
It is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate birthday.
Merry Christmas to all
it is realy hard to be on28*c with glass of beer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Merry Christmas 2 everyone n a happy holiday :::::
Kirk Cyrus Nada
Domingo S. Buendia Christian Sandor Badana Ydirin
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
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 .
Merry Xmass to all
Merry Christmas Thahani
Merry Christmas to all. And all my kabayan….
Merry Christmas. Taga saan ang Magpoc ninyo? Mayrun ako pinsan Roland Magpoc
Bataan po ang tatay ko
Kilala ko po sya
Merry Christmas to everyone in Muscat. Must leave for a while to spend Christmas holidays at home. Cheers!
Merry christmas, from sohar, oman…:)
Merry Christmas to all and loved this beautiful country Oman with so nice local Omanis and excellent leadership by His highness.
merry xmas u special people and happy new year.
Merry x mass to all!
Merry Christmas from salalah Oman,thank u for the holiday.
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.
Oman is diversed country where all religion are allowed to celebrate their festival love Oman love Omani people
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,
A blessed Christmas to all … from Muscat.
Merry Xmas too frm Nizwa. By could enjoy more if in Kenya.
Merry Christmas to all
Merry Christmas to all..I really enjoy my Christmas here ..I love Oman….
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.
We’re still celebrating Christmas. We are happy coz we can still celebrate Christmas here in Oman. ☺️
Nicely done! Merry Christmas!
We spend it in desert
Happy holiday season to all
Happy Christmas to you all. I am also from Oman. Enjoy the party time. http://www.nthwall.com wishes you all Happy Christmas.
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
merry Christmas sa mga kababayan ko
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.
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. 😉
I think it must be great to live in Muscat. I have friends there and visit them sometimes. It’s civilization.
My Omani friends wish me Merry Christmas and I have invited an Omani friend for Christmas lunch 🙂
Merry Christmas en Happy New year….Muscat.
Nice Article posted though….very much significantly true
Its the best country
Compliments of the Season & wishing a peaceful New Year
Jesus prohibited the alcohol but on his birthday every one haves shocking photo
Actually Jesus turned water into wine .. Performing a miracle. It’s in the good book check it out!
Dear sister you too check it doesn’t mean to have alcohol….
Sorry sister if my words hurted you Bcz I love my Jesus so much Allah sent him as major sign to human being that time while seeing that I felt worried Bcz I thought people who loves Jesus they don’t drink
3. He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
Numbers 6: 3
1. Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Proverbs 20:1 there is some more verses also there sister
Happy Christmas to all those in Oman. I spent 7 very happy years there. Miss it heaps
Merry Christmas everyone
Let me say this am a kenyan work in oman at salalah i love this country becoze is peaceful end i than my boss salim Ahamed. He is very kind man with her family they are very wounderful en lovely i love the family soo much God bless oman en H.M sultan Qaboos he is very good man i love OMAN
Nice Blogs! Merry Christmas!
That was really funny to see you guys all sittin’ there where I’ve sat so many times with you myself. It’s one thing I do really miss…
Do you teach English in Oman? Did you teach English in Korea before moving to Oman? If so, I’d love to get your advice on teaching in Oman — can you email me, or can you give me your email ad? I’d really appreciate it — I am a ‘Korea-vet’ — I have been teaching here (at a good uni) for far too long, and am interested in Oman. From what you have written here, it looks like a good place to teach.
Yes… yes… no worries… and yes, it is. I’ll get back to you Barney. Cheers!