On March 23rd, Sultan Qaboos returned from Germany, having spent the last eight and a half months (258 days, to be exact) receiving “successful treatment” for an undisclosed illness. To celebrate his arrival in Oman that night, people went out to their cars to drive around, honking horns, waving flags, and sitting on the window ledges pumping their fists.
The next day, my students said they watched the news video of him getting off the plane over and over again, He descended the steep, red-carpeted steps under his own power, not even using the railing for support. There was dancing and celebrating in their homes and on the streets. One of my students cried when she told me how happy she was.
Overall, though, celebrations were mild. The Sultan is home, but no public holiday has been declared. The school honored the event with a prayer. Then, things just seemed to go back to normal.