Becoming a man

Yesterday afternoon, there was suddenly a clamoring in the street - loud trumpets, drums, and some kind of flute. We looked outside and there in our street was a horse carriage with a white horse, beautifully dressed people and masses of kids were thronging about. Suddenly money bills fluttered through the air, kids scrambled to pick them up, and a little boy stepped out of the neighbor's house, all dressed in white and gold with a turban and a scepter.  He climbed into the carriage with his sisters who were all dressed up like little brides.

It was his Khitan, the traditional circumcision of a seven-year-old boy that marks his coming-of-age as a Muslim man. I remember these from Turkey where, incidentally, the boys were the exact same outfits - white, elaborately stitched and decorated, with a turban that is crusted in (fake) diamonds and jewelry, complete with a feather.  Even the scepter is the same.  (I'm sure they call it differently.)

The Khitan is a huge celebration, much more so than a First Communion.  It's a joyous event that is shared with relatives and friends, and the little boys are heaped with presents.  I saw a few days earlier how this boy received one of those electric minicars that you can drive in.  A white Mercedes.  I'm sure it cost a fortune.

The carriage turned, and the neighbor kids followed it for a bit, then a motorcade with finely dressed relatives followed.  He was off to become a man.

Good luck, little guy. 

  A neighbor kid clutching the money she collected.

A neighbor kid clutching the money she collected.