Sacrifice to the Sea

“Myths are stories that are based on tradition. Some may have factual origins, while others are completely fictional. But myths are more than mere stories and they serve a more profound purpose in ancient and modern cultures. Myths are sacred tales that explain the world and man's experience.”

Every culture and every nation through history has its own myths. Some get passed through long series of generations. Oman is one of the most ancient human-inhabited lands on earth. It is estimated that humans have been lived in Oman for at least 106000 years.

This is one of the reasons Oman culture is filled with myths from different eras of time. These myths have different origins; some are known and some lost their way in the long line of time.

One of the myths is offering a sacrifice for the sea in a particular ritual when fishermen catch no fish. This ancient tradition is used to be part of Northern Omanis beliefs. They believed in the power of the sea as it is the main source of sustenance.

When fishermen find no fish, they will select some people to sleep by the sea at night until the sacrifice calling song is heard. A feminine voice will sing:

“Oh fishermen,
Accept my calling,
And give the sea what you ought to,
Oh fishermen,
Accept my calling and offer the sea a sacrifice”

This song is the sign to begin the sacrifice ritual. The notables of the village will start collecting money secretly to buy a sacrifice (mostly a veal) and a boat. This sacrifice will be kept away from other villagers until the night of the slaughter is determined.

When the night comes, the fishermen will take the sacrifice to the coast, they will dig a hole and they will slaughter the sacrifice there. The blood will be gathered and will be poured in the sea. The sacrifice will be divided into three parts, 2 will be thrown in different locations in the sea and the other one will be through on the beach. During these rituals some songs are sung asking the sea to accept the offering.

Villagers then will return to their homes believing that the sea will be kind to provide them with a great fishing time by the next day.

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