Eyup Sultan Mosque and tomb is one of the most holy sites in Istanbul. It is the burial place of Ayoub al-Ansari, a standard-bearer and advisor to the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Arab siege of Constantinople in 670. Located in one of the city's most religiously traditional areas, Friday prayers attract a great number of worshippers and pilgrims. Families spend the afternoon sitting in the shade and around the fountains after passing through the Iznik-tiled tomb to pay respects and participating in Friday prayers in the cool, airy mosque.
Neither pilgrim nor worshipper I, it was more interesting to watch all the young boys who stopped by the shrine to celebrate their sunnet, or circumcision.
Yes, indeed! Circumcised between ages 6 and 10. How do you like 'dem apples? Sunnet marks the kid's passage into manhood and his formal entrance into the faith. It is a very big deal for families. The little victims get all dressed up in shiny outfits, with a fur trimmed cape, spangled cap and jeweled scepter, and drive all around town in processions stopping at holy places. Many have sashes that say "Masallah," which is a wonderfully complex word that means a lot of different things, but particularly joy and praise that god has willed a positive event. Turks, and Arabs especially, use the word in every other sentence.
The little boys are all excited and nervous, and are generally treated like little pashas to an even greater degree than usual. This fat kid (or one that looked just like him) puked up his breakfast in the middle of shrine after imbibing in a tin cup of holy water.
It was a hot and sticky afternoon and the boys had things on their minds other than the blessings conveyed by complete strangers.
No boy of any age wants his granny hanging all over him.
This little dude's foreskin is probably safe.
After the snippage, the boy returns to his home, gets propped up on pillows and waited on hand and foot while visitors stream through offering their wishes and gifts of gold.