Circumcision time is here in my village and on a daily basis you can hear the parades going by and see the recently cut young men out wandering around. If I was a 13 year old boy, I’m not sure I’d want someone to publicly take a knife to my manhood, but they seem mostly content and proud with their rite of passage, and will still happily to pose for pictures if I was by with my camera out.
Each boy gets a parade before their circumcision, often with a cow leading the procession. The cow is often a gift from an older sibling for the event. My brother never bought me a cow for any rite of passage… not that girls here or in the States really have that many rites of passage anyway.
The parades generally have lots of men jogging through town, often carrying sticks, knives, whistles, and other noise makers to draw attention to the young boy and his passage into manhood.
Many parades also have men waving lessos… pieces of cloth made into a flag, also commonly used as aprons for women and used to carry babies on your back.
Check out this parade leader’s cool animal skin cap.
The day I took these pictures, I saw four different parades go past where I was in just one hour.
after the circumcision
Boys wear the ever versatile lesso as a wrap after the ceremony, because really, who wants to wear tight trousers when you’ve just been cut?
After you’re cut, you get the freedom to wander around wherever you see fit.
Many people will give the boys little gifts like gourds for noise makers, clubs, sling shots, hats, and other fun toys.
Some folks give money and this boy was off in the market buying himself some fresh fruit.
When all of the teenage boys in town get circumcised around the same time, it’s not uncommon to see crowds of young men just hanging around together.
I love the body paint… I think it’s super fun.