Circumcision (Khitan, in Arabic; Britmilah, in Hebrew)

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CIRCUMCISION (khitan, in Arabic; britmilah, in Hebrew)

Removal of the foreskin. Arab-Bedouin and Semitic custom practiced on boys. Circumcision was originally an initiation rite whose goal was mainly hygienic. Jews perform it on the eighth day after birth so as to commemorate the covenant between their people and God. Muslims circumcise their sons at a variety of ages, depending on the region. Every 1 January, the Catholic Church celebrates the circumcision of Christ.

SEE ALSO Covenant.