I already posted a bit about Eid and what it is, so I'm just going to talk in this post about what I did to celebrate the holiday!! So here goes:
Day 1: This is the day in which people visit family. We woke up early in the morning and got dressed up and ready to go. My host sisters and I all wore jalabiyyas, which are a kind of gorgeous Arabian dress. I'm afraid I don't really have good pictures that I can share (as I can't post pictures of my host sisters on the internet for privacy reasons) but we looked quite jameela, if I might say so myself. Two days before that, I had henna applied though, which I can show a picture of!
Then, we all went to an uncle's house for breakfast. Breakfast in Eid, at least with my extended host family includes meat! Lots of it! Basically, we had what is normally lunch food- chapati, stew-type potatoes and meat (rather Indian in being... we actually eat a lot of Indian style food), and liver. Wait... that's not normal lunch food! I was told "try it! It's nice with lemon juice!" so, of course, being an exchange student who wants to try everything, I did. Well. Liver is not on the top of my list, but I'm glad I gave it a sample. You only live once, after all. Anyways, then we all sat in the living room eating watermelon and halwa. I have yet to do a post on halwa, but I'll get around it it eventually. In summary, it's the Omani national sweet and man, is it good. And very rich. Another interesting Eid tradition: giving faloos, or money, to all of the children. People here are very generous!
After our morning at the uncle's house, we went to my host mom's mother's house for lunch. After the "small" Eid gathering that morning, this was a whole different affair (I use quotes here because it wasn't really that small, just in comparison. Like how my host family is "small" because there are only 5 kids. By Omani standards, it is). We were some of the first to arrive, but soon cousins, second cousins, probably some third cousins, and a variety of other relatives flooded into the flat. I had met a few of them, but mostly they were strangers to me. When I say flood, I mean it. There were a few of us there (maybe 20) and, within 15 minutes, there were probably 50 people there, all talking and greeting one another. For some of them, they had not seen each other since last Eid. And then as soon as they had come, most people left we ate lunch. We ate in the traditional Omani style, on the floor, although there was an option for using silverware for the less adventurous/more dainty of us. After lunch, there was the required tea and halwa and chatter, and, finally we returned home after a long and tiring day.
Day 2: On the second day of Eid, we woke up early once again to head for Musandam, in the north of Oman! To get there, you either have to drive, fly or take a boat. We opted for the third option, so we boarded the Hormuz, a ferry that runs between Musandam and Muscat.
|The red circle is the location of Musandam. I know it says "study area," but I took the picture from the internet because I have far too much to write here to take time to actually put something together. Google it is.|
The ferry was really a nice way to travel. We got to see the ocean, and it was just much more comfortable than driving. I met a nice couple (British, I think) and chatted for a while about being foreign in Oman. I also chatted with some host cousins, which was nice!
We got to the place we were staying and freshened up a bit before heading back out to barbecue on the beach. Fun fact! Musandam is just a few kilometres from Iran. Very exciting to a nerd like myself.
Day 3: The highlight of the third day was a trip on a dhow, which is a traditional Omani ship! It was such a great trip--the boat had these great, comfortable pillows for seats. The Musandam coastline is beautiful. There are massive towering mountains that are literally just a few metres from the sea. Very little vegetation grows in Musandam, and many tiny villages are scattered along the coast. These villages rely entirely on fishing for their livelihood. It was a great trip!
Day 4: We were set to return by ferry this day, but that was made impossible because the ferry was cancelled due to strong winds. Because people had to get back to work, we needed to leave, so we decided to drive! Driving from Musandam to mainland Oman involves going through the UAE, and so that's what we did! It was a 6-7 hour drive, but I got to see a bit of the Emirates in the process! For the most part, it was just driving, but we also stopped at a carpet/fruit market. I ate a whole coconut. Interestingly, coconuts here look nothing like coconuts I've had in the states. They're much bigger and greener and smoother.