Habta markets: A thriving tradition
With Eid just around the corner, traditional habta markets will commence in the coming days in a number of wilayats of the sultanate. These open markets have on display all the commodities and items people need during Eid, including livestock of all kinds.
The first habtas will be held on the 24th day of Ramadan in the wilayat of Bausher in the Governorate of Muscat; Fanja in the wilayat of Bidbid in the Governorate of Dakhiliyah; and Wadi Bani Khalid in the wilayat of Ibra in the Governorate of North Sharqiyah. On the 25th day of Ramadan, Eid habtas will be held in the villages of Al Thabti and Al Yahmadi in the wilayat of Ibra. The markets will also be held in the wilayat of Al Hamra and Nafa'a in the wilayat of Bidbid.
On the 26th day of Ramadan, habtas will be held in the wilayats of Nizwa, Rustaq, Sumail (Suroor), Sur, Wadi Al Ma'awel, Al Khabourah, and Al Mintarib in the wilayat of Bidiyah. On 27th day of Ramadan, the habtas will be conducted in the wilayats of Ja'alan Bani Bu Ali, Suwaiq, Bahla, Barka, Ja'alan Bani Bu Hassan, Nakhal, Seeb and Al Qabil, while on 28th day of Ramadan, the markets will held in the wilayats of Al Kamil Wa al Wafi and Al Qabil.
There is a fixed time for most habta markets in sultanate - from sunrise to 11am, sometimes extending to 1pm. The markets attract customers from nearby villages and neighbouring wilayats in large numbers from early morning.
Habtas are also an opportunity for breeders to sell their livestock at good prices. Many citizens are keen to buy small livestock for use in the traditional Omani meal known as arsiya.
Eid habtas are an ancient practise in the sultanate. The traditional markets are held in open spaces or under the shade of palm, mango or ghaf trees, or near castles and forts. Habtas are in high demand with citizens, residents and tourists thronging these markets.