Qahwa means coffee in Arabic. However, Omani Qahwa in the Omani culture doesn’t only refer to a cup of traditional coffee, but it is a course of hospitality. When visitors are invited to qahwa in an Omani house, this means that they will be given Omani coffee, dates, fruits, Omani halwa (dessert) and home-made cakes and baked treats. Omanis are extremely welcoming people and they find joy and happiness in inviting people to their homes and offering them the best food they have. As long as the guests are still in their homes, Omanis keep bringing different kinds of dates, fruits and food, to make sure that they fulfill their duty of hospitality.
Omanis are all about social relationships and unity between people, even when those people may be complete strangers. Living within an Omani village, means that visitors will always find caring hearts that will stand by them in hard times and celebrate with them in times of joy. It also means that they will always ask about them and make sure that there is nothing missing or anything that they need. Furthermore, Omanis find themselves self-obligated to assure the well-being of their neighbors, friends and family and to visit them every once in a while to spend some time together. On the other hand, Omanis love to invite friends, family, neighbors and even strangers to their houses, and may feel sad when someone doesn’t visit them for a long time.
Almost every house in Oman has its own palms. All year round, these palm trees produce different types of dates that are both colorful and delicious. Part of the harvest is usually eaten before it gets soft and moist. As for the other part, Omanis dry them using a traditional method, and reserve them in special bags to be stored for the whole year. It is a traditional habit for Omanis to make small baskets of dates and give them to their neighbors and family. They also give them to visitors and guests when they leave their houses. This doesn’t just happen once a year or every other month. In fact, they keep sending dates to their neighbors almost every other day.
Religious and social occasions
Omanis like to celebrate every occasion, whether religious or social, with their own special home-made food and desserts, which they love to invite people to share or send to neighbors to enjoy. During Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast, and the two Eids, Omanis invite people to their homes to eat their home-cooked meat, rice, chicken and traditional bread. They even prepare their meals in large amounts to send to all the surrounding people, even when they are not Muslims.
For social celebrations like weddings for example, some families buy decorated fabric to be tailored for close friends and neighbors. After the wedding day, the families of the bride and the groom prepare a big feast for all people in the village, friends and family. Even for birthdays, the family of the birthday boy or girl, prepare bags of sweets which they distribute to their neighbors.