As a tribute to its culture and people, Oman celebrates the Oman National Day each year. Oman National Day is celebrated with a spectacular show of various activities and events and marks the day the country gained its Independence from the Kingdom of Portugal in the year 1650, when Imam Sultan bin Saif led a rebellion that expelled the Portuguese from its ports. Incidentally, the day also marks the birthday of the beloved leader Late HH Sultan Qaboos bin Said. This makes the day significant not just historically, but also culturally.
A day of fun, frolic and mesmerizing events, Oman National Day 2020 will be celebrated with fireworks, concerts, horse and camel races. Once every five years, a military exhibition drill is also organized. Renowned actors and performers are invited from across the world to perform for the crowds, and the day allows local people to visit their homes, towns and villages to their loved ones.
Demography and importance of Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The country is unique in the region for being the oldest independent state in the Arab world. The country also had the longest–serving ruler in the Middle East — Late His Highness Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who has reigned for 40 years since 1970.
Earlier known as the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, the country was renamed simply Oman, by Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 1970. Since then, the country has transformed rapidly into a flourishing economy, becoming one of the most–developed countries in the Arab world. With the Sultan’s focus on economic development, the country persevered through harsh geography and became a beacon of economic wealth in the region, as the per capita income rose to $20,200 in 2008 from a meagre $360 in 1970.
Oman National Day 2020
Each year, the Oman National Day, has served to glorify the country’s history and to honor its beloved leader. However, the 2020 has come with much apprehension for the people of Oman. The death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said has been, to its people, a major national loss. Nearly a year after his death in January 2020, the nation still mourns his loss and are reluctant to engage in celebrations. This is further compounded by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has led organizers to cut back on non-essential expenditure and curtail large gatherings, to protect its people as well as sail through this difficult economic time.
Oman National Day celebrations
As a result, the 50th Oman National Day 2020 is sure to be a subdued affair. According to Qassim Al Kharusi, a political analyst, this is being done to “respect the people’s feelings”, on account of the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Other analysts state that curtailing the Oman National Day celebrations will help the country prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus, and also manage the mounting expenses which have come as a result of tackling the pandemic this year.
While the year 2020 has surely dampened much of the character of the Oman National Day, it has by no means dampened the spirit of the country. The Oman National Day is geared to witness celebrations albeit some curbing. National flags will be hosted alongside roads, but major cities such as Muscat, Sohar and Salalah are unlikely to witness anything more than the usual National day fanfare.
Nation after Sultan Qaboos bin Said
The country’s new ruler, HH Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, is expected to deliver the traditional National Day speech on television, rather than the from the royal box in the national stadium in front of thousands of his subjects. The usual street decorations and traditional dances on roads are likely to be bypassed this year, though small firework displays are likely to mark the occasion on Oman National Day 2020.
This year’s Oman National Day marks not only the historical and political significance of the country, it is also the 50th year since the reign of its beloved leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the Covid-19 pandemic has surely dampened this year’s celebrations, but the spirit of the culture and its people is likely to persevere as it, as it always has for much of the country’s history.