Holidays in Oman 2018 and 2019

When visiting Oman, Holidays in Oman such as public holidays and the weekend are different from those in ‘western’ countries. Read on www.TonyWalsh.me

Mosque interior
Mosque interior

The weekend is on Friday and Saturday, with Government Ministries closed as are Banks (but of course ATMs function). Many Governments operated Museums and smaller Forts also close over the weekend (most major forts close at 11:00 on Friday and remain open on Saturday). Major companies close their administrative offices on both days with Friday, as the Islamic prayer day, being the day that most businesses close even if they open on Saturday. Smaller money changers may open on Friday afternoon.

Church services are held on Friday, as well as Sunday,  as Friday is the day most of the congregation will be able to attend.

St Thomas Church Ruwi
St Thomas Church Ruwi

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Religious holidays follow a lunar calendar, so the date advances about 10 or 11 days each year. The actual day is often known only the evening before as dating depends on sighting the new moon that starts each month. There are non-religious holidays, however often the announcement is only a week or so before the actual holiday.

Israa Wa Al Miraj which commemorates a fabled journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, subsequent ascent into heaven, and return, by the Prophet Muhammad is expected to be announced around 13th April 2018 and 3rd April 2019.

Eid Al Fitr is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. It marks the end of Ramadan which in 2018 extends from about 15 May – 14th June  and in 2019 May to 4th June. The religious celebrations for Eid Al Fitr cover 3 days and in 2018 should be from about 15th June and in 2019 from 5th June. There usually are longer public holidays that cover a day or so either side, so perhaps from 13th June to 19th June in 2018.

On 23rd July Oman celebrates Renaissance Day, which is held to remember the accession of Sultan Qaboos as ruler in Oman. The holiday is often given to extend a weekend.

Eid Al Adha commences on the 10th day of Dhu Al Hajah, the month of the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. This Eid’s date, therefore, is known at the start of Dhu Al Hajah. Though in the Haj month this Eid celebrates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his first born son, Ismail, as commanded by God. The sparing of Ismail with a substituted animal also gives rise to this Eids name Feast of the Sacrifice. In 2018 the Eid should start on August 22 and in 2019 on August 12; with holiday periods as Eid Al Fitr.

The Islamic New Year is usually a Public Holiday and in 2018 should be around 11th September and 2019 31st August.

Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Mosque

The Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed is also commemorated and the date should be 19th November 2018 and in 9th November 2019.

National Day is a date which is also the birthday of Sultan Qaboos on 18th November annually, there are official functions on this date. The National Day public holidays are usually a week, or so, later than November 18th and cover several days.

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4