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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CIRCUMCISION

CIRCUMCISION IS THE REMOVAL OF THE FORESKIN COVERING THE
PENIS. FOR THE FEMALES, THE CLITORIS IS USUALLY CUT
OFF SO THAT THE WOMAN CAN IN NO WAY BE ABLE TO
FEEL OR EXPERIENCE SEXUAL SENSATION DURING INTERCOURSE.
IT IS BELIEVED THAT HER SEX ORGANS WILL BE SOLELY USED FOR
CONCEPTION. MALE CIRCUMCISION IN LIBERIA IS ATTENDED
BY MALES AND FEMALES AND WHEN A FEMALE IS BEING
CIRCUMCISED, SHE HAS THE CHOICE OF WHOEVER SHE WOULD LIKE
TO BE IN ATTENDANCE. CIRCUMCISION IS BELIEVED ORIGINATED
DURING OR ABOUT 10,000 B. C. THE FORESKIN IS USUALLY
TIED AND REMOVED AND SHOULD BE DONE WITHOUT TEARS OR
SCREAMING FROM THE YOUNG MALE. THIS IS A SIGN OF MANHOOD.
IF HE SHOULD CRY OR SCREAM, THAT GESTURE REPRESENTS
COWARDICE. IT IS ALSO SYMBOLIC OF THE CULTURE FOR A
YOUNG MAN TO WITHSTAND PAIN. NO TEARS OR SCREAMS SHOWS
A BIG SACRIFICE FOR THE YOUNG MALE AND HIS PARENTS. IF THE
YOUNG MALE DOESN'T CRY, HE IS USUALLY REWARDED WITH MANY
MATERIAL THINGS SUCH AS MONEY, CLOTHES, AND FOOD. IF HE
CRIES, HIS RELATIVES WILL FEAR FOR MANY YEARS THAT
UNTIL PROVEN WRONG, HE MIGHT EXHIBIT CHARACTERISTICS
OF A LAZY OR WEAK INDIVIDUAL.
CIRCUMCISION OCCURS EVERY FOUR YEARS. INCIDENTALLY,
THIS NOVEMBER, MANY CIRCUMCISION WILL TAKE PLACE. MANY
VILLAGES IN LIBERIA WILL BE THE FOCUS OF CIRCUMCISION
RITES. IT IS A FORM OF INITIATION INTO THE AFRICAN
SOCIETY AND MANHOOD. IT OCCURS WHEN A MALE REACHES THE AGE
OF TWELVE. CIRCUMCISION ALSO IN MANY TRIBAL VILLAGES
SUCCEEDS MARRIAGE. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED THAT CIRCUMCISION
SEPARATES THE YOUNG MALE WHO HAS BEEN CIRCUMCISED FROM
THE ONES WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN CIRCUMCISED. A INITIATION MARK
CAN ALSO BE SHOWN ON A MALE'S BACK. UNCIRCUMCISED MEN
USUALLY HAVE VERY LARGE PENIS. IT PENETRATES THE FEMALE'S
WOMB SHARPLY WHEN IT ENTERS IT. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED
THAT UNCIRCUMCISED MEN ARE FEAR AMONG WOMEN. THEY ARE
FEAR SEXUALLY. MANY PARENTS AND RELATIVES FEAR FOR THEIR
FEMALE'S HEALTH IF MARRIAGE WAS TO COME ABOUT FROM ONE OF
THESE MEN. THEY ARE NOT HAPPY MEN. THERE, TO GET AWAY FROM
THE MISERY, A VISIT TO A JUJUMAN OFTEN TIMES HELP OUT.
THE JUJUMAN CAN BE HELPFUL BY ATTACHING THE PREPUCE WITH A
RING. THIS RING HELPS THE UNCIRCUMCISED MAN NOT TO PENETRATE
THE FEMALE'S WOMB DEEPLY.HIS CHANCES OF FERTILITY CAN
ALSO BE HELPED. IT MIGHT ALSO INCREASE HIS SPERM. HIS
SEXUAL INTERCOURSE CAN ALSO BECOME SATISFYING INSTEAD
OF PAINFUL FOR HIS PARTNER. THE WORD UNCIRCUMCISED IS
A CURSE WORD. IT IS ALSO A DEGRADING WORD FOR THE MALES.
UNCIRCUMCISED IS NOT A CURSE WORD FOR FEMALES. SHE SIMPLY
ACCEPTS HER CONDITION. SHE LEARNS TO LIVE WITH IT.
THE FEMALE'S CLITORIS SIMPLY CAN'T BE REPLACED. SHE DOESN'T
DARE DO ANY THING ABOUT IT ALSO. A YOUNG MAN WHO IS
TO BE CIRCUMCISED DAY BEGINS AT DAWN. HE EATS GARI
WHICH IS HIS BREAKFAST. WHEN HE FINISHES, HE IS UNDRESS
BY HIS MATERNAL UNCLE WITH BEADS. THE BEADS ARE PLACED
AROUND HIS WAIST AND HIS HANDS. HIS NECK IS ALSO DECORATED WITH
COW ORNAMENTS. A GOAT IS SACRIFICED IN HONOR OF THE YOUNG MAN.
THIS IS DONE AROUND 12 NOON. AT ABOUT TWO O'CLOCK, THE
YOUNG MAN TO BE CIRCUMCISED IS THEN THROWN INTO A COLD
STEAM. WHEN HE GETS OUT OF THE STEAM, CIRCUMCISION BEGINS.
CIRCUMCISION FOR THE FEMALES IS NOT DISCUSSED OFTEN AS
IT IS DISCUSSED OF THE MALE. WHEN A FEMALE REACHES PUBERTY,
HER CLITORIS IS CUT. SHE THEN GETS MARRIED SHORTLY AFTER.
NOTHING MORE IS DISCUSSED BECAUSE SHE IS SUPPOSE TO BE
HER HUSBAND'S PROPERTY. THIS CUSTOM IS PRACTICED A LOT
IN MANY VILLAGES IN LIBERIA. HOWEVER, IN THE CITY OR
WITH THE CHILDREN OF EDUCATED PARENTS. CIRCUMCISION
OF THE CLITORIS IS NOT PRACTICED. IT IS NOT PRACTICED
BECAUSE OF COLONIZATION. FOR THE MALES, CIRCUMCISION IS
PRACTICED BY THE REMOVAL OF THE PREPUCE COVERING THE
PENIS.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA ; SINKOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Morning mealsBreakfast
BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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