Eid traditions: Learn the story behind the perfect Omani dish

15 Jun 2018
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

You couldn’t have missed it: The sight of goats being hauled away in pickup trucks prior to Eid. If you thought it was for the domestication of the animal, you couldn’t have been more wrong. In short, these goats are on their course to… well… a delicious three course meal at a home.

Ah, but you say, Eid Al Fitr (the festival that follows the Holy Month of Ramadan) isn’t the festival wherein cattle are slaughtered. Well, in reality – and in most parts of the Middle East – that is the case, but Oman is a bit different.

Many families here slaughter cattle during Eid Al Fitr as opposed to Eid Al Adha. Eid Al Adha – the Sacrifice Fest – is when Muslims around the world slaughter or pay for slaughtering cattle as a part of their belief.

The annual celebration takes place during the Haj season and is historically linked to the story of Ibrahim (Abraham) and his willingness to sacrifice his own son, as an act of obedience to God’s command.

But whose bag is it anyway?

Following the slaughter, Omani families usually put the meat on a clean piece of rag and cover it with banana leaves and spices that are usually prepped beforehand.

Then the rag is closed and slipped into a bag made from the leaves of palm trees. Following that, each family marks their bag with different symbols for identification.

Some even attach soda cans and old phones (!) to it. But the quirkiest we’ve come across is when someone attached their car number plates to it. Of course, they were asked (politely) to stop doing so.

Nevertheless, in the next step, the men start putting wood inside a hole in the ground (Tannoor) to light fire before dropping the bags inside where the meat gets cooked.

The size of the hole varies depending on the number of families.

The rest, really, is all about the way the meat is prepared.

Keep it safe this Eid

In the Capital of Oman, Muscat Municipality has been carrying surprise checks on butcheries, slaughtering centers and central markets.

However, some families prefer slaughtering their goats and sheep on their own, inside their houses.

The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources reminds people every year of the dangers of such practice, warning people of potential health consequences.

Slaughtering in the slaughterhouses assures veterinarian’s inspection to ensure the safety of the meat.

This is important to control of meat-borne diseases in addition to the disposal of slaughter residues.


While shopping malls get packed with visitors ahead of Eid holidays, Omanis prefer to shop at Habtas.

Habtat Al Eid is a traditional market where merchants sell Eid related items, cattle and the famous Omani Halwa.

 Story by:- Hassan al Lawati

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