The infant son of King Mohammed VI (search) was circumcised Thursday, and thousands of Moroccans also went through the procedure in a massive show of solidarity for the prince, a news agency reported.

The circumcision of Moulay Hassan (search), the king's only son, marked the start of three days of nationwide celebrations across the north African kingdom to honor the event. The boy turns 2 next month.

Some 5,000 boys were circumcised in Casablanca (search), Morocco's largest city, and thousands more in other cities and towns, the official news agency MAP reported.

The ritual of circumcision, known as "t'hara" or purification in Morocco, signals the entry of young boys into the Muslim community.

The practice — once mainly carried out by barbers — today takes place primarily under a doctor's supervision.