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Nubian Ceremonial LifeStudies in Islamic Syncretism and Cultural Change$
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John G. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9789774249556

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774249556.001.0001

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Circumcision and Excision Ceremonies

Circumcision and Excision Ceremonies

(p.151) Chapter 8 Circumcision and Excision Ceremonies
Nubian Ceremonial Life

John G. Kennedy

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter deals with an important component of the traditional Nubian ritual system, but one which has lapsed into relative insignificance in modem times. It begins by describing the circumcision rites for Egyptian Nubian boys as they were practiced in some parts of Nubia (e.g., Diwan and Abu Hor) as late as 1933, and excision rituals for girls as they are still frequently performed. Nubian circumcision and excision ceremonies cannot simply be categorized as “rites of passage” or as “initiation rites.” They embody a complex constellation of interrelated beliefs, values, and principles of social structure—all of which must be examined in order to comprehend their form and existence. Furthermore, though the rituals had important effects on the social awareness and identity formation of children, they had no obvious relationship to gaps or failures in the socialization process.

Keywords:   Nubian ritual system, circumcision, excision ceremonies, rites of passage, initiation rites

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