Friday, November 14, 2008

Toy – Part Two

Alright, so we’ve gone over the first kind of toy pretty well, I’d say. Sounds like a big, fun party, eh? But, little did I know that there’s another toy that’s also quite common. The party’s quite similar, but it celebrates something different.

Various cultures have festivities for when a boy becomes a man. In the United States, the most common occasion I can think of is a Barmitzfah, when a young Jewish person’s coming into adulthood is celebrated. This type of event is also quite common in Azerbaijan. It’s the ‘kiçik toy (sorry if this is incorrect)’, roughly translated as ‘toy for a young person.’

One of the first explanations I received on this type of toy was from my host brother, who put it bluntly. The usual gestures for a toy were given, like moving the arms in a dancing motion, but he also formed one of his hands in the shape of a scissors and made like he was cutting the end of one of his fingers on the other hand. Getting the picture? If not, I, too, will put it bluntly, and inform you that a ‘kiçik toy’ is when a young man is circumcised.

The only gesture I remember giving in return was a cringe and an, “Oooohhhh!” signifying the pain it must cause. My buddy Jordyn has also been to one of these, and he told me it more or less goes like this: The young man is the king of the party. It’s his day. The festivities commence like a regular toy, with the food, dancing, speeches from friends and family at the front of the room with the microphone (I might not have mentioned that yet.), vodka, etc. The boy sits at the front of the big room on a stage. When all’s said and done at the party, he eventually goes home, where the doctor applies an anesthetic of some sort and the snipping takes place.

Now let’s reflect here. What if you were in this position? What would be going through your head during this big bash, knowing your circumcision would follow? I went to my neighbor’s toy, and he’s around five or six years old. As far as I could tell, he was perfectly happy. However, Jordyn informed me that the boy at the toy he attended didn’t look too happy. I guess it just varies from person to person.

Nevertheless, I think this is a pretty cool occasion. How great is it that friends and family all come together to celebrate a boy becoming a man. I believe that’s an important thing to recognize, and, as far as my own case goes, it would have been nice for someone to formally let me know when I was no longer a boy. Ha ha, just kidding. Of course, I think many (if not all) would agree that Abdullah (the boy whose toy I attended) still has plenty of childhood left, but he has still, in fact, reached a pertinent stage in his life. The following day, I visited him at his house across the road from mine. He was lying in bed as the party was going on outside. He, of course, had plenty of love and attention, and I gave him a little money (also a tradition). Later that day, a couple Peace Corps Trainees and I came to the house, and we were warmly welcomed, as expected. There’s something great about seeing my friend Charlie kneel down and visit with his neighborhood friend at his bedside. It makes me feel even more like we are part of the community.


löki gale said...

That is an interesting tradition.

sheila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sheila said...

Sounds like your family & the chai & vodka & toys are getting you acculturated pretty fast. It's so fine that your "ama" cared like a mother & cautioned you to go easy on the vodka and that you visited the boy the day after his toy. Yes! Relationships! Best wishes, Sheila