ABU DHABI // Sweet, woody smoke rose from burning frankincense at Yas Mall’s Town Square on Friday as hundreds of Emiratis joined Omanis in celebrating Oman’s 46th national day.
Traditional Omani dancers marched into the square beating drums and chanting songs of joy as they commemorated the traditions and bonds shared between the two neighbouring countries.
Omani orators paid tribute to the leadership of Sultan Qaboos, who 46 years ago set the country on a new trajectory by laying down solid foundations for Oman’s prosperous future.
Archive photos showing historical meetings between UAE’s rulers and Sultan Qaboos over the decades also served as a visual testament of the long-standing alliance between the two Gulf nations.
“They are showing the people that Oman and the Emirates are the same – we’re all together,” said Yasser Al Junaibi, 36, an Emirati who attended the festivities with his Omani friend, Mohammed Al Mukha. “I brought my kids to show them our cultures. We want to be close.”
The unity and friendship shared between the two countries was emphasised by the leaders of the UAE.
The President, Sheikh Khalifa, sent a cable to Sultan Qaboos congratulating him on the country’s anniversary.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Youth, Culture and Knowledge Development also attended the festivities, touring the various kiosks set up to display and sell Omani sweets, lotions, handicrafts and jewellery.
Emiratis taking part in the celebrations echoed the leadership’s devotion to their neighbour.
“We’re all in the same area in the Gulf, also our culture is similar to their culture and traditions and I feel like they are as our relatives,” said Tasneem Al Hashmi, an Emirati volunteer at the Yas Mall celebration that paid tribute to Omani heritage. “This makes our relationship stronger.”
Omani musician Fatma Al Blushi said she was honoured to celebrate Oman’s national day in the UAE.
“I am Omani, but I love the Emirates,” said Ms Al Blushi, 23, who lives near the border close to Al Ain.
“My nieces are Emirati, my cousins are Emirati, so we are very close. It is not two different countries, I don’t feel it like that. I feel we are one country, but there is a border and different nationalities and that’s it. But we are family, we are friends, we love each other.”