Video: Omanis celebrate the country's 45th national day

Video: Omanis celebrate the country's 45th national day
Blog: Thousands of Omanis have this week been celebrating on the streets of Muscat for a very special national day.
2 min read
19 Nov, 2015

On November 18, traffic on the main road in Oman's capital wound down to snail's pace.

Horns blared and music hummed from the convoy of cars that snaked through Muscat's streets.

Young Omanis sat on car rooftops singing patriotic songs as they celebrated the first national day since Sultan Qaboos bin Said returned to the country after an extended period abroad for medical treatment.

Just a year ago, the nation was gripped with concerns about the well-being of the country's monarch.

In July 2014, Sultan Qaboos flew to Germany for "medical checks" in a rare overseas trip.

As the months rolled on with still no public appearance from the sultan, worries turned to fear about the condition of Qaboos who has ruled the country since 1970.

On November 5 last year, just before a rather subdued national day, the sultan made an appearance on national television from Germany informing the nation about his condition.

Qaboos appeared frail and tired, but his appearance also brought a huge sense of relief to the sultanate.

Finally, in March 2015, Qaboos returned to Oman - to an uproarious reception.

National Day in Oman, as in other Gulf countries, is a hugely vibrant, colourful and enthusiastic event, marking an important chapter in the nation's history. 

When Qaboos took to the throne, Oman was poverty-stricken, tribally divided and at risk of being swallowed up by neighbouring countries.

Now, it has a well-established independent foreign policy, and citizens enjoy some of the highest living standards in the region.

National Day in Oman was initially celebrated on the day Qaboos ascended the throne on 23 July - right in the middle of the Gulf nation's scorching hot summers.

So after 1971, National Day was moved forward to the 18 November - Qaboos' birthday - so the country could celebrate the event outdoors, on the streets of Muscat.

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