Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan. In the sultanate, Omanis celebrate Ramadan starting with the sighting of the crescent moon, shopping and buying Ramadan supplies, having community iftar in mosques, Taraweeh prayers, recitations of the Q’uran, visiting Habta markets and celebrating Eid al Fitr.
People prepare to observe the month of fasting early by shopping and purchasing the food supplies they need to cook traditional meals, including soup, harees and varieties of rice, besides sweets which are often had before the Taraweeh prayers.
Omani women play a prominent role during the month. They start in the beginning of the month of Shaaban, preparing a list of the ingredients required in the favourite meals of Ramadan. They also teach children religious concepts.
Women prepare the table for the meal with which their families break the day’s fast. These meals vary from one governorate to another.
Omanis usually break their fast with dates, water and laban, in accordance with the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed and Omanis’ strong connection with the palm tree.
Some Omanis like to break fast in mosques while others prefer to be at family gatherings in older relative's homes. The young and old break fast together at the table. The month is an opportunity for togetherness with relatives and tolerance to receive the rewards as mentioned in the Q’uran and Sunnah.
During Ramadan, families and neighbours exchange food to break fast in keeping with Omani society’s treasured values of tolerance, brotherhood and love for all.
In the middle of the month, some of the wilayats celebrate Qaranqasho when children gather in groups and walk in residential neighbourhoods collecting sweets, nuts and money from relatives and neighbours. This popular celebration serves as an incentive and encouragement for children for upholding the tradition of fasting.
In the last few days of Ramadan, Habta markets are set up. These are open markets where all the requirements of Eid al Fitr are available. Habta is an old tradition in the sultanate and these markets are popular with citizens and expatriates alike.