Muscat Festival 2012: Come Celebrate Culture, Community & Cuisine!

It’s good to get to Qurum Park between 4:30 and 5pm.  You don’t want to arrive before 4:30pm (at Qurum or at Naseem Park) or you’ll just have to wait in line till it opens anyway.  It’s always nice to get there in time for the sunset!

Make sure to take time and smell the flowers during all the fun at the park!

A nice change to Muscat Festival is the addition of many of these “Festival Activities Site Maps“.

Lots of police and emergency staff on hand to ensure the safety of the crowds

Muscat Festival is also a great opportunity to enjoy Marah Land with all its amusement park rides.

The poster pictured here is advertising a photo competition held by Oman Tourism.  Here is the link to details if you’re interested.  In this picture, you can also see the lake where they do the fountain and light show each year at Muscat Festival.  Here is a video I took of the last few minutes of the show:

Kebab is reason enough to get my wife to Muscat Festival, haha! At 200 baisas per stick, you can’t beat those prices!

They’re also selling these packs of mango for 1 rial.  Check out the guy’s shirt on the right.  Definitely should be one of the banned items from the festival that local papers have published. 😉

While there may be no Starbucks or CostaCoffee joints, there are plenty of instant coffee stalls around Qurum Park during the festival. I think it was 300 baisas for a small coffee (no lid) and 500 for a slighter larger one (with a lid).  This Indian gentleman told me that he normally works in Salalah the rest of the year but was brought up to Muscat for the sake of the festival.

Thanks to the folks at Muscat Festival, our son Gershom cannot pass one of these guys without pointing and getting excited, hoping to get another sugar fix.

One satisfied customer!

Walking by the popcorn stand is another lost battle.  He was happy to get another ball that lights up when you bounce it.  We bought one at last year’s festival and it lasted about 9 months.  Not bad for only 600 baisas (or about $1.25 US).

Lots of nice green grass to sit on.  Just make sure to bring a mat with you.  All the more important if you come later in the evening to enjoy the firework show from 9 to 9:30pm.

Last year they had a long neon parade just before the fireworks at 9pm each evening. (Not sure if they still have it this year as we haven’t been at the festival past 8:30 pm yet)  It is nice to see a smaller parade of characters marching around this year at earlier timings for the wee ones.

Here is the parade in a short video:

Meanwhile, back in the Omani Culture & Heritage Village within Qurum Park, there were a lot of Omani customs on display such as this “parade” with drumming and chanting.

Here’s a short video I took of this interesting scene:

In an area marked “Bedouin Environment” are many tents like the one pictured above with different scenes of Bedouin life with actual Omanis participating!

I can only imagine what this lady was texting…”I’ll call you later, Fatma.  I’ve been asked to entertain silly foreigners at Muscat Festival. La moshkelah.”

This lady and children were showing a typical traditional Omani school setting from the past where the children would repeat (verses of the Quran) after her.  Here she is giving them candy during a break.  And I know it may look like she’s giving the camera “an evil eye” but far from it.  The Omani volunteers were all very hospitable and are there to promote culture and tourism in Oman.

When I asked if it was okay to take a photo, this older Omani smiled slightly and gestured that it was okay.  Often in this case the smile is given at the request, but it’s back to “a more serious look” during the actual photo.

This cute girl had no problem smiling at all! 🙂

There were a few cute Omani girls in their festive cultural clothing near a traditional rope-swing in the culture and heritage village that were very photogenic.

An Omani artist displaying some of her masterpieces at the festival

These gentlemen were singing away and invited me to sit down and have tea with them as I took a few pics (after asking).  They weren’t actually singing.  I’m guessing that they were reciting passages of the Quran in unison.  Here is a short video of them singing chanting reciting away:

If you are interested in reading more about Muscat Festival, why not go to their official website here: www.muscat-festival.com?  There is a choice of 3 languages: English, Arabic and German.  Click here to download a PDF file with a booklet describing all the events:  http://muscat-festival.com/MUSCATFESTIVAL2012BOOKLET-EN.pdf  If you are in Oman, definitely try to make it to Qurum Park (for everyone) or Naseem Park (for families with children) before the festival ends on February 23rd.  I know my son is looking forward to our next visit!

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6 responses to “Muscat Festival 2012: Come Celebrate Culture, Community & Cuisine!

  1. Beautiful and fun! Your son is adorable, by the way 🙂

  2. Dulcinea,
    You are too sweet but then I guess you’re just living out the meaning of your name, right? 😉 The festival really is a beautiful place to visit and a LOT of fun, but unfortunately quite a few expats we know in Oman shy away from visiting year after year because of the crowds and traffic. BTW, I tend to think my son is the most adorable little boy I’ve ever seen, but I could be just a tad bit biased! 😉

  3. hi! I’ve been to the festival before in early February. My family and I decided to have dinner at the food stalls near the performance stage. We had a dish from one of the stalls which consisted of rice, spaghetti and pasta (if I’m not wrong). Any idea what is the name of the dish? Its really delicious!

  4. Hi there, Suhaili!
    Sounds like a good dish. What did you pay for it? I don’t have a clue what the name of that dish is but maybe it was called “rice, spaghetti and pasta”. 😉

  5. woooow
    I really like the pictures..
    and nice comments in every one of it..I also have been to the festival and had a fun time i have
    enjoy the cultural spirit..

    • shams,
      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the pics! I enjoyed walking around Qurum Park taking them! 🙂 We just have to wait another 10 and a half months for the next Muscat Festival, God willing!

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