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National Day and My Blue Dress

By Karla, YES Abroad 2014-2015, Oman

This past week was national day - the anniversary of Oman's freedom from the Portuguese in 1650, as well as the celebration of the 74th birthday of the Sultan.

In Oman, [National Day] is a much bigger deal than [Independence Day] in the U.S. This shouldn't have shocked me, because all we really do in America is watch fireworks and eat cake, but it shocked me all the same. About two weeks ago I found out about National Day, and upon reaching the understanding that we were going to have to wear Omani traditional clothing to school as part of the celebration, I promptly set about trying to obtain some.

After much discussion on the topic, this past weekend 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).

National Day is celebrated on the 18th of November, the Sultan's birthday - but at ABQ, my high school, we celebrated it on November 20. Everyone wore their national dress to school, and during our assembly there was a program of speeches, poems, and plays as part of the festivities. Part of this program included myself and Linden - 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 told me mine is the one from Muscat, the capital region. My personal favorite style is from Dhofar, in southern Oman. 

In America we celebrate our independence - in Oman the celebration is about the people and the culture, and the variations that occur therein while still remaining an amazing and united country. And maybe that sounds cheesy but I think it's really beautiful.