The Jakarta Post
Around 100 students holding bouquets of roses marched to the beats of a drum band in a mass circumcision parade held by Madrasah Ibtidhaiyah (MI) Darul Ulum Islamic elementary school in Batu, East Java, on Friday. They headed to Blumbang Macari lake in Pesanggrahan village.
The mass circumcision was held for 19 students, ranging from third to sixth graders, with no fee. The event was also held to celebrate the Ascension Day of Prophet Muhammad, which fell on Saturday.
Ulul Azmi, principal of MI Darul Ulum, said this year’s event was imbued with local traditions, instead of the usual parade on horse-drawn carriages.
Local residents’ ritual of Jamasan Sukmo Pusoko Rogo requires children to first plunge into Blumbang Macari Lake. All the way to the lake, they are accompanied by friends with roses in hand.
The lake is considered sacred by the villagers as it is a source of water.
Afterward, a small portion of the children’s hair is cut. The weight of the hair determines the amount of alms parents must give.
The children then gather in the lake while friends throw petals of flowers onto them. Their mothers then scrub the children with grated turmeric rice. The practice is believed to promote good blood circulation.
The children are then hand-fed by their parents, the last time during their childhood.
The children then take another plunge into the lake filled with roses, as a symbol of cleansing. Only then are the children ready to be circumcised.
“The ritual is also a part of the school’s art and culture lesson for the students,” Ulul said.
Finza Aldi Anshori, a fourth grader, said the ritual provided a sense of calm prior to the circumcision.
“I got to play with my friends in the lake full of flowers, and afterward my mother fed me. It made me calm, as I wouldn’t have had the guts to go through it alone,” he said.
"At the end of the mass circumcision, the children will go on a parade around Batu on a horse-drawn carriage. The school’s drum band will also march along. Starting this year, the event will have a touch of our cultural traditions to preserve them,” said Ulul. (wng)