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
in a similar fashion to the meal enjoyed by Prince Charles during a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque a few years ago. While younger children do not fast they learn to appreciate the month in many ways most joyously in Muscat mid-month when they participate in QarenQashoo. Traditionally they go from house to house in their neighbourhood singing a refrain and asking for ‘Halwa’ a sweet. I enjoyed seeing this year’s QarenQashoo in the Al Harthy Complex which has been hosting this celebration since it opened in 1991.
I spent the first few days of Ramadhan in Salalah enjoying the extraordinary green of the mountains, before driving back to Muscat; which enabled me to visit two Wadis, Tiwi and Shab, along the coast, which were visited by the cyclone Gonu in June.
I then called into Qurayyat town where the government is providing over 400 Portacabins (complete with water and electricity) to the citizens whose housing was affected in June. Earlier the government announced the distribution of over USDollar200million as financial aid following the impact of Gonu to just under 34,000 cases not covered by insurance. This remarkable distribution is not only to Omani Citizens without insurance but also to residents in the same situation who are not Omani.