How to Appreciate the Rich Culture of Oman
A Vibrant Mix of Traditions
Omani culture is an exotic mix of traditions unique to each region of the nation. As the second biggest country on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman offers tourists a chance to experience bio-diverse environmental locations as well as unique customs and cultures. Whether you are interested in enjoying the gorgeous coastal allures of the ancient port city of Sohar or being an indulgent foodie, here are tips on how to appreciate the culture of Oman.
Get Updated on the Food and What You Want to Try
The cuisine in Oman is diverse as most dishes have their roots in Indian, African and Arabian cultures. Therefore, you have a wide range of flavours and dishes to sample. Most food in Oman is meat-based; lamb and chicken are favourite choices and are often made with rice. A firm favourite is Arsia which is roast lamb and rice served with a sour sauce. The vegetarian foodie will not be disappointed with the range of meatless bites on offer. Try the shawarma wraps which you can order stuffed with fresh salad and a side of luqaimat which are deep-fried dough balls flavoured with cardamoms and rich halwa.
If you decide to enjoy a stay in the ancient port city of Sohar, called the most picturesque in Oman, make sure to try Mashai. The dish compromises of grilled kingfish served with soft fluffy lemon rice. Another popular seafood dish is ruz al mudhroub which is again rice accompanied by tasty fried fish. When exploring the beauty and culture of Sohar it is wise to choose a central resort; popular options like Al Wadi Hotel Sohar make travel to the wadis and forts of Sohar easy. From these central Omani hotels, you will easily find plenty of things to do in Sohar.
Learn More About the Omani Religion
Ibadism is the form of Islam followed in Oman, over 70% of the population is Muslim while Oman has the highest number of followers of Ibadism in the Islamic community. Ibadism is a simple version of the faith, therefore, the mosques in Oman are not glitzy or elaborate structures; they do not sport minarets either which is an iconic architectural feature of Arabic structures in other regions. Tolerance of other religions in Oman is very high, encouraging communities of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus who mostly make up the expat community of Oman.
Respect the Culture and Learn More About Social Norms of Oman
The Omani are non-confrontational people, therefore conducting yourself with respect is important. Public displays of dissatisfaction or angry outbursts are frowned upon. It is disrespectful for an Omani to lose face in public, therefore make sure you conduct yourself in a demure manner. Maintain social etiquette and you will earn the respect of the locals.
Always ask before photographing people. The women especially are modest and may refuse to be photographed, respect their wishes and do not become forceful. Tourists who earn the respect of locals have often been invited to their homes for a family meal. If you are lucky enough to earn similar invites make sure to take along a gift and remove your footwear at the door. You can ask for more details on how to behave at the dining table from the staff of your Omani hotel.
Men are addressed as Sayed while women are called Sayeeda, show your respect thus, and you will earn their favour. Showing off your eagerness to learn a few Arabic phrases will work well for you. Also, when engaging in conversation keep out any opinions you may have on religion or even the sultan. Instead, ask them about their health and family, but do not become overly nosey.
Men in Oman wear what is called a dishdasha; it is a long ankle-length garment that keeps them cool and maintains modesty. Women too wear a similar garment called a burqa with the addition of a headscarf.
Enjoy learning more about the culture of Oman by booking your Sohar resort in Oman today.