Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It is big deal for Filipino men! - circumcision -

Son: Mama, I do not want to do THAT!

Mother: Your brother already did THAT! Now it is your turn. 

Son: No! I DO NOT!

Mother: You won't be able to get married with someone in the future.

Son: It is fine! I will marry with Japanese girl.

We, Japanese do not have this.
That is a conversation between Japanese mother who married with Filipino and son, half Filipino and half Japanese over the circumcision. 

I laughed when Japanese mother told me this story because a boy knew Japanese in general not practicing it and he used this fact to escape from pain. That is clever. 
This boy is a second son. When he saw his elder brother had circumcision, he felt how painful it was. Then, now when his turn came, he refused to have it. 

I often hear the word, circumcision because some of my nephews are reaching that age which encouraged us to talk this topics in our conversation. 

I also understood it is a passage being an adult and I found it includes certain aspect of ritual. 


Group of boys go to the stream or riverside with adult. Boys also need witness for their ritual. That is the reason they go with group.  

Adults cut skin of boys private part with a small knife and place skin certain way. When boys have "operation", they do not use anesthesia. They just chew kind of grass. It is surely painful but to bear with this pain is a sign of being a part of adulthood.

After the operation, pain will remain for a month, which made them difficult to walk normally for while. But they need to walk around neighborhood by wearing their mother's skirt or piece of clothe to show they went though the ritual. Here again, it is important people around you know you have done it. 

By the way, this is rural setting. Besides nowadays, people have done this in the hospital with anesthesia. It means ritualistic part of this is slowly diminishing. Even though people still understand this as passage to be adult, they tend to mention more hygiene purpose.  They said circumcision keeps their private part clean. I actually have no way to check this but this reason I often heard. 

They usually have this during summer holiday (around March to May) when they reach 5th or 6th grade of elementary. This part is still the same until now. 

And it is still big deal even generations go on. Seeing these ritualistic process and pain, it is a matter of man's dignity. In fact, boys tease fellows if they haven't done it yet by saying " pisot ka". It is great offence, according to my husband.

Well, it is man's talk.
But girls here is also involved by saying they do not want to have guy uncircumcised

As mentioned before, Japan does not practice this. For us, it is totally new idea.

At very beginning of my stay here, I did not know what it is in English. Then I checked dictionary.


In Bicol languages, I learned that there are words of guy's private part, before and after the circumcision. " pisot ka"  the word -pisot- describes children's one before the circumcision and also this also associated to its size. Adult but without circumcision is called supot. If boy has done circumcision, it becomes boto.

Language certainly explains how important it is. 

By the way, I also heard girl's version but it is not associated this kind of ritual. It is just simply differentiation and another story.

1 comment:

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