Indonesia: Jet Serves as Backdrop for Mass Circumcision


A Boeing 737 belonging to the Yogyakarta School of Aviation Technology dwarfs the crowd during the opening ceremony of a mass circumcision, Dec. 17, 2016. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


The ceremony begins with a traditional mortar hitting ritual. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


Parents break the jug, a tradition to symbolize the cleansing of their boy. Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


A mother kisses her son. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


Boys pray for success on board the airplane. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


A boy cries out as he is circumcised. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


The medical team calms a boy. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


Parents try to calm their son as he is about to be circumcised. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)


Boys disembark from the plane after the ceremony. (Kusumasari Ayuningtyas/BenarNews)

Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, recently saw a new twist on the ritual of khitan, or circumcision for boys.

In Yogyakarta province over the weekend, about 80 boys participated in a mass circumcision aboard a Boeing 737-200 belonging to the Yogyakarta School of Aviation Technology. Many of the boys had never been on a plane before, but the 737 remained parked in the hangar throughout the ritual.

“This mass circumcision on the plane is not only the first to be held in Yogyakarta but also in the world," said event committee chairman Ryan Budi Nuryanto.

Despite the non-traditional location, many traditional steps were followed during the ritual.

Yellow coconut leaves known locally as tarub, were installed as decorations at the site.

The boys were splashed with water from seven different springs to symbolize purification.  Dressed in traditional attire, the boys performed sungkeman (bending over their parents’ knee ) to thank them and ask for their blessing.

Inside the plane, parents and relatives tried to sooth and comfort the boys as medical experts assured them that the process would be quick and painless.


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