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National Day

National Day 2017 and 2018

National Day is a major public holiday in Oman that gives people an opportunity to celebrate Oman’s history and independence from Portugal.

201722 Nov to 23 NovWed to ThuNational Day Holiday
201821 Nov to 22 NovWed to ThuNational Day Holiday

National Day is celebrated by the Omani people on November 18 each year. It precedes the birthday of Sultan Qaboo bin Said on November 19. Because of this, November is one of the most important times of the year in Oman. For most of Oman’s citizens, National Day is a time of patriotism and historical reflection.

History of National Day in Oman

Oman became an independent state in 749 CE after the Omani tribes united and selected a Muslim leader. Oman remained an isolated Islamic state until European powers entered the Middle East. In the early years of the 16th century, Portuguese imperialists attacked Oman in an effort to expand their economic empire. A short war broke out between Oman and Portugal, but the Omani forces were quickly defeated by Portugal’s superior naval and ground forces. In 1507 CE the Portuguese navy seized several major ports and strategic locations in Oman. With no other options, the government of Oman surrendered to the Portuguese invaders. While under Portuguese control, Oman’s ports were used to expand Portugal’s spice operations from India and other areas of East Asia.

After perceiving the growing threat of Portuguese power, the British and Dutch decided to work with the Omani government. In an effort to undermine Portugal’s economic gains from operating in Oman, British companies began to use Oman’s ports for trading. In 1646, the British East India Company was granted exemptions from many Omani laws. With the support of the British Empire, the Omani military launched an offensive campaign against Portuguese forces in Oman’s coastal regions. By 1650 CE, the Portuguese forces were defeated, and Oman regained its independence.

Celebratory Activities

While many Middle Eastern holidays are fairly conservative, National Day in Oman is both vibrant and exciting. Visitors of Oman during National Day can expect large festival-like celebrations.

  • Fireworks Demonstrations

Fireworks demonstrations are among some of the most popular and beloved celebratory activities for National Day in Oman. These elaborate fireworks displays are usually planned by government organisers and pyrotechnic professionals. During the shows, the night sky above Oman is filled with bright lights and patriotic colours.

  • Parades

In Oman’s major population centres, street parades are commonly held to honour the current sultan. These processions consist of flag bearers, dancers, and images of the Oman’s leader. These parades attract large crowds of energetic people. The streets where these parades are held are also decorated with lights and banners.

  • Lectures

Lectures are also common at universities and public centres. These lectures often explain the history of Oman and other patriotic topics. National Day lectures may also go over Islamic history and the actions of the European powers.

  • Public Speeches

Politicians and other public figures often give speeches that bring attention to the progress of Oman. These speeches also present the Oman’s current challenges in an optimistic tone.

  • Sports

To connect with their traditional roots, many Omani people participate in camel races or bull fighting competitions. While bull fighting in Oman is not nearly as famous as Spanish competitions, it is a major aspect of Omani culture. People also play soccer and other modern sports.

  • Return Home

National Day is also a time to reconnect with friends and family members. Many Omani people return to their home villages on National Day. This tradition makes National Day one of the busiest travel days in Oman.

Oman National Day is widely celebrated in Muscat, Salalah and Bawshar. National Day is a public holiday in Oman that allows Omani citizens to reflect on their nation’s history. It also gives Omani people an opportunity to enjoy some time off from work with their loved ones.