Shoppers flock to Habta markets in Oman
July 11, 2015 | 7:42 PM
by ONA

Muscat: Shoppers turned up in huge numbers as the first Eid Al Fitr Habta markets opened in the Sultanate on Saturday.

Habta markets are traditional markets that are held on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha in the open or under the shade of palm, mango, or Ghaf trees, or near castles and forts. Such markets witness a large turnout of citizens, residents, and tourists.

Although the public markets in the Sultanate are crowded with the advent of Eid Al Fitr, where stockbreeders display their animals, the known Habta markets usually start on the 24th day of the Holy Month of Ramadan and continue for several days. The wilayats of Wadi Bani Khalid and Ibra in the North A’Sharqiyah governorate, Bausher in the Muscat governorate, and Fanja in the A’Dakhiliyah governorate are the first to start their markets.

Habta markets will continue in several governorates until the 29th day of Ramadan. The Wadi Bani Khalid wilayat has four Habta markets. These are Al Khalidyah, Umq, Souq Al Masalha and Al Howairyah. They start on the 23th day and close on the 27th day of Ramadan.

Al Thabti village in Ibra wilayat is the first Eid Habta market among the three wilayats, followed by Habtat Al Yahmadi on the 25th day of Ramadan, and A’Safalah on the 26th day. The markets in Al Hamra wilayat and Habtat Nafa’a in Bidbid wilayat start on the 25th day. On the 26th day of Ramadan, these markets open in the wilayats of A’Rustaq, Sumail (Suroor), Sur, Wadi Al Ma’awel, Bidiyah, Al Khabourah and Al Muntarib in Bidiyah wilayat.

The markets in the wilayats of Ja’alan Bani Bu Ali, A’Suwaiq, Bahla, ad Barka, in addition to Ja’alan Bani Bu Hassan, Nakhal, A’Seeb and Al Wasil village in Al Qabil wilayat are held on the 27th day. The markets in the wilayats of Al Kamil Wa Al Wafi and Al Qabil are held on the 28th day.

The Habta market is a legacy that has been handed down to successive generations and is one of the oldest Omani traditions observed to celebrate Eid. They bring in social and economic returns and Omanis visit them in the last days during Ramadan to prepare for Eid and to make their purchases.

Many people move from one Habta market to another in the neighbouring wilayats looking for better goods, especially live meat, and to enjoy the atmosphere associated with such markets, including (Al Munadat or “Calling”), which is the auction of sheep, cows and camels.

Great opportunity

These markets are a great opportunity to buy the Omani breed of sheep and cows. They also provide stockbreeders with the opportunity to sell their cattle at good prices. The Habta Al Eid markets witness a large turnout of visitors from early morning. People visit these markets from various villages wearing traditional Omani dress, and carrying daggers and sticks. Some people come from the nearby wilayats as the market is packed with local sheep and cows. Toys and clothes for children are also sold here. There are others selling Omani food and foodstuff that form the basis of many Omani dishes prepared during Eid Al Fitr.

Traditional light weapons, usually used by males of all ages as decorations, such as guns, daggers, and sticks, apart from traditional belts, and swords are also sold in the markets, along with Omani clothing such as Al Massar (turban) and Kumah (Omani Cap).

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