By Karla Cox, YES Abroad 2014-2015, Oman
This past week we celebrated National Day, which is the anniversary of Oman's freedom from the Portuguese in 1650, as well as the celebration of the Sultan of Oman’s 74th birthday.
In Oman, this is a much bigger deal than it is in the U.S. I found out about these two events almost two weeks ago, and, upon learning that we were going to have to wear Omani traditional clothes to school as part of the celebrations, I promptly set out to find something appropriate.
After much discussion on the topic, my host aunt brought me back a beautiful blue dress from her trip to Nizwa, which I learned was being passed on to me by another member of my host family. It fits perfectly and I love it (also, it's the only piece of embroidered clothing I own!).
While National Day is celebrated on November 18th, the Sultan's birthday, we celebrated it early at my school. Everyone wore their national dress, and during our assembly, there was a program of speeches, poems, and plays as part of the festivities. I was also included in programming with another student, and we spoke together about some of the differences we have discovered between America and Oman.
At the end of the assembly there was a fashion show, which featured different styles of clothing from all around the country. Although Oman is one nation, each province has a different style of national dress (my friend let me know that mine was from Muscat, the capital region. But my personal favorite style is from Dhofar).
In America we celebrate our independence. In Oman, the celebration is about the people, the culture, and the diversity that keeps this an amazing and united country. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but I think it's really beautiful.