My host father picked me up from school and we drove to Bahla. I hung around the house in the afternoon. In the evening, one of my host cousins asked if I wanted to go to a wedding with her. Woohoo!
The wedding was really interesting and quite different from the weddings that I have been to in Muscat. This is because it is a traditional wedding, which now typically only happens in central Oman (as it is one of the most traditional parts of Oman).
The wedding was really near our house and was in an outside gravel area by the road (though some fabric walls were put up so that people could not look inside the area. Green matts covered the floor (so everyone left their shoes outside the ‘walls’) and green Christmas-type lights decorated the ‘walls’ as well as the walls of a small building next to the area.
All the women were sitting on the floor on the matts and everyone, except for the immediate family of the bride, were wearing abayas and had their hair covered. I was glad to have my abaya on to blend in, but people still stared at me a lot, probably because most people knew each other and were wondering who this unfamiliar girl was.
On the matts were a few platters of fruit for people to eat and incense burners were burning throughout the area. At times, women came around hanging out small containers of water.
At the front, the bride (wearing a white dress with lots of makeup and hair piled high) was sitting on a small elevated platform with a simple background decorated with some lights. Some members of her immediate family were dancing in the small area in front of the platform to the Arabic music (which was playing on a stereo that the girls would use to skip or choose songs).
After a while, her family came up to cover her hair with a white fabric (like a fancy hood) and give her a bouquet of flowers since the groom was about to enter. He walked in and removed the fabric and after greeting her family, they posed for pictures. People were standing to watch, and we found a good perch on the steps of the small building there (where some men were sitting inside). We left shortly and on the way out passed a decorated car in which they would leave in.
After hanging around the house in the morning, we drove to Al Hamra for a lunch party at my host uncle’s (the one who worked at the embassy in Algeria) house. The party was for one of his sons who was just accepted to become a policeman. The women sat spread out through a few rooms (since there were so many people) and we sat on the floor, talked, and ate rice and meat, dates, and fruit. It was mostly my host mother’s side of the family, so I know them a bit less, but they are all really nice and welcoming. Too bad I can barely talk to them because of the language barrier.
After coming back to the house in Bahla for a few hours, we drove to Nizwa for an engagement party dinner. This part of our family is from Zanzibar, so some of the food was from Zanzibar (different types of bread). We sat inside a room, but many women were sitting on matts outside since so many people were at the dinner.
After the dinner, my cousins and I stopped at the doctor’s office since one of my host aunts was feeling sick (it was in a private hospital (though public hospitals are free for everyone here), so I got to see what that looks like in Oman: it was kind of old, but looked very clean, though the walls were all a sterile looking white with no colors or comforting decorations. It was late at night so not too many people were there, but the visit involved a lot of waiting and walked to different rooms in different ends of the hospital).
After that we decided to make an impromptu visit to a wedding (another traditional one). This one was in a small hall (it looked like a small arena) with a small stage at the front where the bride was sitting with the groom to pose for pictures. Rows of chairs were placed facing the stage. At the front was a small area under the stage where a few women were dancing. Most women were wearing abayas and almost all the women’s hair were covered. We only stayed about 15 minutes because it turns out we went to the wrong wedding! So now I can check off crashing a wedding off my bucket list!
Didn’t do too much today; just hung around the house and then left Bahla in the afternoon.