Omani people are very welcoming, respectful and kind. Nevertheless, it is important for all tourists to be sensitive to the Omani culture and respect their values, traditions and virtues. Even if visitors might not be violating the law, here are a few things that they should never do in Oman.
Don’t wear inappropriately short clothes
The people of Oman are conservative and modest. Being mostly Muslims and following their values and culture, they have traditional outfits to wear in public as well as inside their houses. Omani men usually wear the dishdasha which is a long piece of white or colored cloth that covers them, slippers and kumah, which is their traditional cap. Women wear a colorful dress with a matching scarf, and put a black abaya on top. Visitors are welcome to wear the Omani traditional outfits, but they don’t have to.
Nevertheless, they must respect the conservative nature of the country and wear clothes that don’t reveal much skin. It is important to realise that doing otherwise will be insulting for Omanis as they wouldn’t like to see visitors with revealing clothes or for their children to see them. Women as they are strongly advised not to wear bikinis on the beach.
Don’t speak or laugh loudly in the street
Omanis are one of the most friendly and welcoming people on Earth. They love to get to know new people. Omanis have special places called “Majilis” or “Sabla” where they come together, talk to each other and share happy and sad news. Therefore, it is not very common for them to gather in the streets and talk loudly, which might disturb their neighbors and the elderly.
Even when they have weddings, Omanis take the bride and the groom to their new home in decorated cars but don’t make any noise with the horn, they keep flashing their lights. They also never block roads. They do all of that to maintain the peacefulness and quietness of their country and their respect for each other. Visitors are expected to do the same, and not to cause any noise or disturbance in the streets or even inside their homes.
Don’t drink or consume drugs
Oman has a conservative Muslim and Arabic Culture, which doesn’t easily accept people who drink alcohol. It’s true that there is alcohol in Oman, but it is only found in hotels, and people don’t usually drink in public. As for taking drugs that are not for a certain illness, they are absolutely illegal. Taking unprescribed drugs is a rejected behavior and socially –unacceptable. Omanis also love to maintain a prosperous community that cares for each other, so exhibiting such behavior will be disrespectful to the Omani values and morals.
Don’t disrespect mosques
Mosques are houses of God. Omanis, as Muslims, use them to pray, read Quran, learn about Islam and worship God. Oman is home to some of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Some of these mosques allow non-Muslims to take tours in them at certain times. Visitors must understand the sacredness of these places and avoid disrespecting them. This means that they must take off their shoes before they enter the mosques, dress conservatively inside them, and women must cover their heads. Moreover, they shouldn’t speak loudly or laugh inside mosques, or let their kids run around and make noises. They also must maintain the cleanness of the mosque.
Don’t mock Omani traditions
Oman is a very rich culture with its unique heritage and traditions. Omanis take pride in their accomplishments and their struggle to build their country under the Sultan Qaboos. That’s why visitors must never mock their leader, or their history. Furthermore, Omanis have developed their own habits and traditions that reflect their beliefs, like their clothes, hospitality and morals. All of these things represent an original and unique part of their personality and character, and thus, must be appreciated and respected.
Don’t reject hospitality
The Omani hospitality or the Omani Qahwa is a traditional way of inviting people for Omani traditional food, coffee and sweets. Whether friends, family or strangers, Omanis enjoy inviting people to their houses. Visitors should accept Omanis invitations when they can, because it makes the Omanis happy. They should also accept their gifts of dates, Omani food and frankincense. It makes Omanis feel appreciated by their visitors and assures that they enjoyed their stay in Oman.
Don’t flirt with women
The Omani society, as a Muslim society, treats women as precious creatures, and thus would never forgive anyone who looks at them or talks to them in any disrespectful way. So, all visitors must never insult women or try to flirt with them.
Don’t carry weapons
Oman is one of the safest countries in the Middle East. Not only because of the great efforts of the policemen or the enforced laws and rules, but also for the patriotism of the Omani people that makes them respect their country and maintain its security and peacefulness. Carrying weapons in the Omani streets will be seen as threatening to the locals as well as to the police officers.
Don’t disrespect tourist sites
Omani people keep their country peaceful and clean. Not only the tourists attractions and famous sites, but also the streets, gardens and souks in every region in Oman. Visitors must always keep everything as clean as they found it. They should never litter at an Omani attraction, or break any public property. The Omani Ministry of Tourism usually have signs at different attractions that wish tourists a pleasant visit and asks them to maintain them as they were.
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