Facts about Circumcision and El-Zar are inseparable parts of Egypt culture long years ago till nowadays.
The ancient Egyptians were the first people to introduce the circumcision.
We will talk about circumcision in Egypt through periods, and also, we will explain what is El-Zar and for which purpose the Egyptians were performing this custom.
Facts about Circumcision in ancient Egypt
According to Herodotus, the Egyptians were the first in history to practice circumcision, along with the Assyrians and Nubians, followed by other nations who copied the Egyptians.
The operations were performed in the temples for children between 6-12 years of age.
However, it was not compulsory rituals, as the case with the Jews who used to perform it on a religious basis, or with the Muslims as-Sunna saying and deeds of Prophet Mohammed.
Meanwhile, remains of a scene on the walls of one (Ankh-Ma-Hr) of the Sixth Dynasty show on its right side (the surgeon priest), holding in his hand a rectangular tool in a vertical position touching the genital organ.
While on the left side, he held something, probably a tool or oval-shaped instrument, touching the genital organ with his left hand.
Another scene for circumcision was found on the walls of Luxor Temple, where the surgeon is shown, while placing the flesh removing instrument on the genital organ, in his right hand, and with his left hand, he held groins to avoid injuring the organ during the operation.
The Archaeologist Chapass published in 1861, a picture from a scene at Khonsu Temple in Karnak.
The scene which is dated back to the 19th Dynasty represented two children of six or eight years old, in front of a physician circumcising them.
Most probably the children were King Ramses’ sons since he was the builder of the temple.
The Muslims used to have the circumcision performed in special ceremonies, with the father taking the young boy (to be circumcised) to the mosque, where the Imam performs the prayers for the sake of the boy.
Who would be received by circles of friends and relatives taking him on a long tour accompanied by music and singing, to the final destination; ‘his parents’ house. Rich families put their children on horsebacks to roam the city.
A big reception was offered on the occasion to which the relatives and friends were invited, thereafter, the barber would circumcise and stop the bleeding using a special drug for it.
Gifts and presents would then be offered to the circumcised boy. Before the operation, the boy was considered to be merely leading a “physical life”, but thereafter.
He would start his moral and spiritual life since he was requested to perform prayers after circumcision had “purified” him.
In the Old Testament circumcision was mentioned more than once, taking into consideration two kinds of circumcision, one of them was manual, where a skin part of the penis removed.
While the other was done by heart and soul as in Old Testament (circumcision the core-piece) of your hearts and this shall never cause your neck crucified thereafter “God shall circumcise the heart, and the heart of your offspring; to love God from the bottom of your heart, so that your soul shall survive.
Jermia said in his Chapter “perform circumcision for God, and remove the core piece of your hearts, you Men of Jehovah and Jerusalem”
Furthermore, the circumcision was clearly mentioned in Old Testament as God told Ibrahim “Thee and thou offspring after Thee shall keep your word with me for generations to come, that every and each man shall have the skin of penis removed as a sign of a relationship with God.
The child of 8 days is to be circumcised which shall make my promise perpetual and eternal. Whoever shall not abide by this promise is considered to be isolated and abandoned.
Although the above explains that circumcision was practiced by the Jews since Ibraham, some divine interpretations went on to consider it as a tradition performed even before Abraham.
This habit considers as one of the most famous habits of Egyptian culture.
Egypt culture facts: the fact behind El-Zar
Music was one of the ancient Egyptian specialties for priestesses.
They were playing in front of goddess Hathor and other deities using such primitive instruments as rattles and castanets, clappers.
Also with the help of moving their long necklaces, they used to make such lovely sounds. While female singers and dancers managed to make their shows aided by the clapping of the audience.
Meanwhile, a lot of scenes in the tombs of nobles reflect the fact of El-Zar As these scenes represent an Orchestra (a group of musicians) accompanied by female dancers and singers playing harps, flutes and beating the drums.
When one of the dancers got deeply indulged in dancing, infatuated with the music and singing, she used to bend of forward, and let loose and free her hair, such as those gestures still customarily used in El-Zar which is considered by simple people as one of the most extraordinary psychological methods of help people get rid of their illnesses and sufferings by allegedly claimed spiritual gestures.
The idea if El-Zar was originated from the mythology that a princess “Bekhten”, was exorcised by an evil spirit that was only to be driven away by the power of magic of god Khonsu.
The spirit stipulated that a party being held with the presence of the princess and god Khonsu, and in which sacrifices were to be made and offerings given.
When the party was held and nearly over, the spirit had let loose and freed the body of the princess.
Al-Zar is well-known and commonly spread among the women of humble classes of the society in Egypt especially those who suffer from nervous breakdowns and shocks, and in their beliefs, the kings of genie had possessed their bodies and Al-Zar rituals have to be held to scare them away.
The fact that this custom was undoubtedly inherited from the ancient Egyptians and it is considered one of the most distinctive customs of Egypt culture.