Turkish Religions: Islam--Circumcision

Figure 1.--Here are two brothers wearing the festive pasha outfits worn for their circumcision celebration at the Blue Mosque. The outfits are the same design for both boys, but there are actually a great variety of such outfits wrn. These boys wear a white fur lined cloak with a red design. The matching white crown is decorated with a red pattern and attached is a white plume. Both boys wear long, white trousers. The older boy has a red design at the bottom. The boys wear white socks. They are wearing gold coloured turkish styled slippers. The older boy's shoes seem to have a round gold coloured bobble at the front and the yunger boy a yellow bauble. Put your cursor on the image for a back view. Theis shows that these garments are very elborate special costumes for this event. Image courtesy of the William Ferguson collection.

For Muslim boys one of the most important events in their lives in circumscion. The origins of circumscion pre-date Islam and it widely considered to be one of the oldest surgical procedures. This is a procedure circumcision is widely practiced in all countries with large Muslim populations. While a commn practice, the ceremonies surronding the event vary widely from country to country. This is a religious based custom commonly practiced in Turkey. There is along tradition of circumcision. The circumcision of an Ottomon prince was a major state occassion and could last 10-15 days. During the festivities the Sultan might offer free circumscion to thousands of poor boys as well as gifts. Circumcision is a Muslim religious ritual rather than a medical procedure, although it is now mostly done by medically trained individuals. There is still a problem in rural Turkey where untrained individuls carry out the procedure. There is no set age for the procedure, but it is expected to be done before marriage. It is not generally done in infncy. Current Turkish practice is to do it before a boy begins school, but this varies from country to country. Here we see a family that has delayed he circumcision of an older brother so the two brothers can have it done together. The modern Turkish practice is to make the procedure a festive occassion as we can see by the costumes. There appears to be no Islamic basis for these festivities, but it seems rather designed to make the procedure more acceptable to the boys involved who no doubt have some trepedation about the whole affair. Such festivities can vary regionally and with the boy's age. Some families have the procedure done at home after which there is a party with presents. Other families participate in group events. The procedure here was taking place at the Blue Mosque (figure 1). There are differences surronding the festivities by region and the age of the young man to be circumcised. One tradition which continues from Ottoman times is attaching a gold coin to the costume of the circumcised boy


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Created: 11:29 AM 8/23/2007
Last updated: 6:23 AM 9/22/2010