Ramadhan is a time of fasting of course. But in modern Oman it’s also a period of Omani Men’s Turban purchasing. Men’s Turbans’ are a key purchase, usually done to go with the new DishDash (traditional gown) and Sandals.
I must say that, accompanying a friend, I felt the shop keeper needed the ‘patience of Job’ our neighbour buried in Salalah . Colour, Pattern, Quality and, of course price, are key elements in making a decision and with hundreds of Turbans to choose from, in each shop, it’s a task that is not for the faint hearted.
Friday afternoon is the traditional time for a few villages on Oman’s Batina coast to hold Bull Fights and recently I went to two.
These Bull Fights, rather than a Spanish style fight where a Matador kills a Bull, are contests between two evenly matched bulls.
The Bulls are usually an owners pride and joy and much personal prestige hangs on the result. The Bulls are given heroic names like Antar (an ancient Arab hero) or even modern ones perhaps Arnold (after Arnold Schwarzenegger).
These are said to have been brought into Oman by the Portuguese in the 16thc, and as they are only popular on the thin coastal strip that was under Portugal’s influence this does seem probable. Owners may have several Bulls who are lead onto the arena under the supervision of a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ often complete with loudspeaker.
The contest is to have the two bulls use brute force to make the other animal submit and run away. Sometimes the losing opponent runs before the contest, other times the animals are so evenly matched that after 5 minutes or so they are separated.
Doubtless, with a ton of animal on each side injuries to the animals happen, though after innumerable visits I’ve never seen any; indeed with a value in excess of luxury cars, its in the owner’s interest to keep it from happening.
The Holy Month of Ramadhan is a time of abstinence and a period of great joy in Oman and throughout the Islamic world. Throughout the month the daylight fast is broken with ‘Iftar’ which for many men is a light meal eaten as a large gathering in the mosque