Oman’s National Day is celebrated on 18 November. This public holiday celebrates independence from Portugal control in 1650. This holiday is the start of a two day break, as 19 November is also a public holiday to mark the birthday of the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said.
History of Oman National Day
In 749, the tribes of Oman chose an imam, a Muslim spiritual leader, marking its first ruler after the influx of Islam into the region. While outside forces from Iran and areas applied temporary pressure to the people of Oman, the people remained relatively independent until 1507.
The Portuguese demonstrated their formidable naval tactics and superior technology to take control of the ports of Muscat and Sohar, and then rest of the coast of Oman in 1507. The Portuguese saw the ports along the coast of Oman as valuable stopping and trading points in their Indian spice trade routes.
This lucrative trading activity raised the eyes of both Britain and Dutch. Unsatisfied with the Portuguese exploitation of resources in Oman, the Al-Ya’ribi clan wooed the British East India Company in 1646. Under an agreed treaty, British merchants were guaranteed legal and religious rights while operating in the Oman’s domain, effectively weakening the influence of Portugal in the region.
On November 18, 1650, Imam Sultan Bin Saif and others led an uprising that effectively expelled Portugal from Oman and its ports. As independence has been a staple since, Oman is generally recognized as being the longest continually independent Arab state in modern history.
Soon after Vasco Da Gama’s voyage round the Cape of Good Hope and to India, the Portuguese arrived in Oman, occupying the region from 1507. The Portuguese fortified Muscat as used the town as a port from which to protect their trade routes to India.
Unhappy with how they felt the Portuguese were exploiting their presence in Oman, the powerful Al-Ya’ribi clan agreed a treaty with the British East India Company to allow the British to have rights in their ports. This weakened Portuguese control in Oman, and on 18 November 1650, Imam Sultan Bin Saif led a rebellion that expelled the Portuguese from Oman and its ports.
National Day events include parades, fireworks, camel races, an equestrian show, a marine festival and once very five years, a military show. The two-day holiday means that many Omanis will take the opportunity to return to their home villages which means that traffic level on these days may be much heavier than usual.
National Day Celebrated in Oman
National Day is a public holiday in Oman.
The celebration of Oman’s National Day takes place every year on November 18 as a celebration of independence from the Portuguese in 1650. National Day coincides with Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s birthday, which occurs November 19, adding additional significance to the day.
Oman’s National Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Today, people celebrate both Oman’s independence from the Portuguese and the sultan’s birthday on November 18. Fireworks displays, images of the sultan, and Oman’s flag can be seen during celebrations that focus on the progress the current sultan, Qaboos bin Said, has made for the people of Oman.
Oman National Day Events: