Ethiopia hamer tribe rituals

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Ethiopia hamer tribe rituals

For many generations, people of the Omo Valley have led a traditional life. Most members of the Hamer tribe are pastoralists, which is why cattle hold a significant place in their culture. From an early age, children are taught to farm land and look after the livestock. As teenagers, Hamer boys have to go through a rite of passage to be called a man and get married. The ceremony, which usually takes place in October or November, involves running on the back of seven or 10 bulls four times without falling.

Locals claim the ancient ritual has been practised for more than three centuries. The eldest child of a family must go through the rite of passage before his younger siblings can follow.

The father, or uncle in his absence, decides when the eldest boy is ready for the bull jump. To show he has chosen his son to go through this rite of passage, the father gives the boy a short stick the Hamer people call boko.

The journey can take a few days. Every day, the relatives cut a piece from the rope to keep track of how many days are left before the ritual. When the long-awaited big day finally arrives, a local alcohol beverage is served to those who have come to celebrate.

Hamer women, dressed in traditional clothes and adorned with bells around their legs, start dancing together and play their loud horns. The ritual takes a turn when the women young girls are discouraged from joining this part of the ceremony begin to display their devotion and encouragement to the young boy who is about to take part in the bull jumping ceremony.

Even after repeated whipping, the women refuse to back down, competing instead against each other. As sunset approaches, the young boy gets ready for one of the most important days of his life. Elders and men who have performed the ritual before, but are not yet married, gather castrated male cattle for the traditional coming-of-age ceremony. The bulls are smeared with dung to make them slippery. Before leaping over the cattle, it is customary for the young boy to be naked and for his hair to be partially shaven.

His body is then rubbed with sand to wash away his sins and get rid of bad luck and smeared with dung to give him strength. As a form of spiritual protection, strips of bark are strapped around his body. With the blaring sound of bells and horns still in the air, the young boy takes a leap. By demonstrating his agility, bravery and strength, the young boy shows he is fit to become a man. Hamer men are allowed to marry as many as four wives, but the first wife is always chosen by their father following this ceremony.

If the odds are against him and he falls more than four times, the young boy will have to wait for another year to try once again.

ethiopia hamer tribe rituals

If successful, the tribe applauds the young boy for being a man by placing animal skin on his neck, blowing horns, jumping and cheering. Celebrations of a young boy turning into a man continue until the early hours. Select currency. In the Hamer tribe, the only thing that stands between a young boy and him becoming a man is cattle — literally.

Bull jumping is an ancient ritual in Southwestern Ethiopia that proves if a man is ready to build a family of his own. Here is the journey the young Hamer boys take to become men. Grab it by the horns. Encouragement and devotion. A leap to becoming a man. Read Next.The Hamar also spelled Hamer are an Omotic community inhabiting southwestern Ethiopia. They are largely pastoralists, so their culture places a high value on cattle.

The national census reported 46, people in this ethnic group, of whom were urban inhabitants. The vast majority According to the Ethiopian national census ofthere were 42, Hamer language speakers, and 42, self-identified Hamer people, representing approximately 0. The Hamar are known for their unique custom of "bull jumping," which initiates a boy into manhood.

First, female relatives dance and invite whipping from men who have recently been initiated; this shows their support of the initiate, and their scars give them a say on who they marry. The boy must run back and forth twice across the backs of a row of bulls or castrated steers, and is ridiculed if he fails. The Assistant Administrator of Hamer Bena, Ato Imnet Gashab, has commented that only seven tribal members have ever completed secondary education.

Mingiin the religion of the Hamar and related tribes, is the state of being impure or "ritually polluted". Media related to Hamar people at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Mingi. Express London. Retrieved 8 March Archived from the original PDF on 25 July Retrieved 19 February Films Media Group.

Retrieved 20 November Ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Rer Bare Somali Bantu. Categories : Ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Namespaces Article Talk.

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Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.But on these broken and often washed-out roads the journey takes twenty hours and two agonizing days.

Stopping to confront these little vagabonds is a waste of time and energy, since as soon as you step out of your 4 X 4 they vanish into thickets or rocky escarpments lining the roads as quickly as they released their projectiles.

ethiopia hamer tribe rituals

But just over the horizon is the town of Konso. However, for many ethnic groups like the Hamar people and their sworn enemies the Bume and Galeb, this territory has been called home for hundreds of years. Largely undisturbed and little visited until the recent influx of tourism development, it is in this harsh environment that exotic tribes with animistic religions and ancient customs have remained relatively intact. One of these traditions is cattle-raiding. Cattle-raiding is a part of life and culture, and it is also a means for survival in one of the wildest and most inaccessible regions of the earth.

More importantly, a man can solidify his high status in the Hamar community by killing a man from another tribe on a raid. It was part of [our] belief that a man should not marry until he has killed either another man, or an elephant, a lion or a buffalo; and it is much easier to kill a man than a lion. But the Arbore, enemies to the east of the Hamar who compete for natural resources and grazing land, seldom go to war with them.

I had over a hundred goats. After I killed Hamar the number of my goats will not grow at all. Once they get ill, the disease will not leave them. I hate Hamar blood. Battling the enemy in the bush is one thing, but a Hamar cattleman must also survive the natural elements. The Omo is the only river in the region that flows year round and when the dry season comes its crocodile infested waters are as precious as gold.

This is the story of life, death, and dishonor in the Omo Valley and it plays itself out every single day. AKs, which can be purchased with a few cattle, are nowadays the weapons of choice and have certainly made it much easier to hunt game animals as well as men. The father greets his son by lifting up his right hand in which he already holds the gun and genitals scrotum and penis if he can get them of the slain enemy.

These are then placed atop the gateway, and then the warrior is decorated with a garland of leaves from a local shrub.

Hamer Tribe Bull Jumping Ceremony

Women enter the scene and decorate the hero with beads and small leather belts that are tied around his head, elbows, and arms. Typically, a man has to wait some time before he can receive his skin-cuts.

Of course, if a man who kills does not get scarred he will be insulted by his peers for not honoring tradition, and he will also have a difficult time finding a wife because he has shamed his family.

Even worse, however, if a Hamar man gets scarred and it is proven that he did not make a kill, he will not be able to live in the village of his family because of the shame he has brought upon them. Hamar women also wear intricately beautiful scars like their male counterparts. Others do it after marriage, but I wanted to attract a husband so I had my upper arms and shoulders cut. All Hamar women do this to make themselves beautiful, just like we knock out our bottom two teeth for similar reasons.

But scarification is only one aspect of Hamar adornment.

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Hair grooming is paramount to Hamar concepts of beauty. On the other hand, courageous men that have killed an enemy or dangerous animal wear a style of mud cap that lasts from three to six months.

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The hair is teased, then flattened with mud and water and painted with red ochre and lime. Goat vertebrae are added to the back or front of the bun so that one or more white ostrich feathers tuti can be attached to it; these feathers are symbols of hunting and the domain of nature.

Women also decorate themselves with cowrie shells, glass, seed and metal beads, and wear beaded goat skin frocks that cover their upper body. Elder women adorn themselves with thick iron rings zau stacked on their arms and legs. Traditionally, arm rings could only be purchased with cattle twenty-five rings for one cow. One woman I met said her eight heavy leg bands cost one bull, and they represent the number of brothers she has.

Among the neighboring Banna, a woman may wear over one-hundred pounds of steel rings on her body. If she dies before her husband the rings are cut off, but if this proves too difficult her feet, head, or hands are sometimes severed from her corpse because the rings are the property of her husband and are given to his next wife.I love your pics!

I was living with karamajong people in north uganda some months and that images makes my mind to remember a lot of feelings. Post a Comment. October 13, Hamer also well known as the hamar or hammer are one of the most known tribes inSouthwestern Ethiopia. They inhabit the territory east of the Omo River and have villages in Turmi and Dimeka.

They are a semi-nomadic, pastoral people, numbering about 42 Beautiful Hamer woman. Honey collection is their major activity and their cattle is the meaning of their life. They will stay for a few months wherever there is enough grass for grazing, putting up their round huts.

When the grass is finished, they will move on to new pasture grounds. This is the way they have been living for generations. Once they hunted, but the wild pigs and small antelope have almost disappeared from the lands in which they live; and until 20 years ago, all ploughing was done by hand with digging sticks.

The Hamar move on when the land is exhausted or overwhelmed by weeds. Hamer men. Portrait of Hamer tribe women. There is a division of labour in terms of sex and age. The women and girls grow crops the staple is sorghum, alongside beans, maize and pumpkins. The young men of the village work the crops, defend the herds or go off raiding for livestock from other tribes, while adult men herd the cattle, plough with oxen and raise beehives in acacia trees.

Sometimes, for a task like raising a new roof or getting the harvest in, a woman will invite her neighbours to join her in a work party in return for beer or a meal of goat, specially slaughtered to feed them. Relations with neighbouring tribes vary. Cattle raids and counter-raids are a constant danger. Hamer women on their way to bull jumping initiation ceremony. Hamar parents have a lot of control over their sons, who herd the cattle and goats for the family.

Girls, on the other hand, tend to marry at about Hamer Tribemen.

ethiopia hamer tribe rituals

Omo Valley. Southern Ethiopia. It means that Hamar men can't stay wealthy and grow wealthier as their livestock is claimed by others.They hail from the Omo river valley in the Debub Omo zone with villages in Turmi and Dimeka representing approximately 0. With major activities ranging mostly from honey collection and rearing of cattle, the Hamar tribe are mostly Muslim shepherds, living in camps consisting of several families.

At night, the cattle are brought into the center of the circle until the early hours of the next day when it is time for grazing again. This has been the tradition of the Hamar tribe for generations.

This famous bull jumping ceremony of the Hamar tribe is the culmination of a three-day-long rite of passage for a young boy Ukuli transitioning into manhood. He must be able to conquer his fears and get through with the task in order for him to be considered a man. This ritual is important because passing it qualifies him to own cattle, get married, and raise children. The bull jumping ceremony usually takes place in October or November and involves running across the backs of seven to ten castrated bulls four times without falling.

By tradition, the eldest child of the family must go through the bull jumping ceremony rite of passage before his younger ones can follow and it is the father that decides when his eldest son is ready. The boy then hands it to the girls he meets along the way and they must kiss it three times as a form of blessing and then return it to him.

Ethiopia's Bull-Jumping Ritual Turns a Boy Into a Man

The timing of the ceremony is up to the parents of the young man and the decision is based on the amount of time it would take them to prepare the feast, which usually happens after the harvest. As an invitation, the guests receive a strip of bark with a number of knots or a coil of rope marked to show the number of days leading to the ceremony.

The invitees then cut a piece from the bark or rope every day to keep track of the days left before the bull jumping rites. Before the young man leaps over the cattle, he passes through a curious rite of passage — his head is partially shaved and his body rubbed with sand, as this is believed to wash away his sins. He is also smeared with dung to give him strength, and strips of the bark of the tree are strapped around his body in a cross form for spiritual protection.

The castrated cattle in turn are also smeared with dung to make them slippery, usually about 7 to 10 castrated cows are lined up representing the women and children of the tribe. If the man in question is lame or blind, he is helped across the cattle by others and must be through with this initiation right before he can be deemed fit to marry the woman chosen to him by his parents, and he can now start his own family and build his herd.

Bride price payments usually amount to about 36 goats and 20 cattle. A local alcoholic beverage made with sorghum is served to those who came to celebrate the Bar-mitzvah of the Hamer tribe. Hamar women dressed in their traditional regalia are adorned with bells around their legs while they dance together and play their loud horns.

As sunset approaches, it is time for the young boy to be initiated through the ceremony and according to tradition, he is usually stripped naked before he attempts the leap.The Hamar also spelled Hamer are an Omotic community inhabiting southwestern Ethiopia. They are largely pastoralists, so their culture places a high value on cattle. The national census reported 46, people in this ethnic group, of whom were urban inhabitants.

The vast majority According to the Ethiopian national census ofthere were 42, Hamer language speakers, and 42, self-identified Hamer people, representing approximately 0. The Hamar are known for their unique custom of "bull jumping," which initiates a boy into manhood. First, female relatives dance and invite whipping from men who have recently been initiated; this shows their support of the initiate, and their scars give them a say on who they marry.

The boy must run back and forth twice across the backs of a row of bulls or castrated steers, and is ridiculed if he fails. The Assistant Administrator of Hamer Bena, Ato Imnet Gashab, has commented that only seven tribal members have ever completed secondary education. Mingiin the religion of the Hamar and related tribes, is the state of being impure or "ritually polluted". Media related to Hamar people at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Mingi.

Express London.

ETHIOPIA’S LAST FRONTIER: THE BLOODY WORLD OF THE HAMAR TRIBE

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Skip to content. They are largely pastorals, so their culture places a high value on cattle. They are a tribe with unique rituals such as a cattle-leaping ceremony that men go through in order to reach adulthood, whereupon young Hamar women get whipped to prove their love for their kinsmen.

Hamar men and women Hamar parents have a lot of control over their sons, who herd the cattle and goats for the family. Girls, on the other hand, tend to marry at about If a man can afford the bride wealth, he can have three or four wives. Women only marry one man. Hamar cattle-leaping and whipping A Hamar man comes of age by leaping over a line of cattle.

As an invitation, the guests receive a strip of bark with a number of knots — one to cut off for each day that passes in the run up to the ceremony. They have several days of feasting and drinking sorghum beer in prospect. The girls go out to meet the Maza, the ones who will whip them — a group of men who have already leap across the cattle, and live apart from the rest of the tribe, moving from ceremony to ceremony.

The whipping appears to be consensual; the girls gather round and beg to be whipped on their backs. They would look down on a woman who refuses to join in, but young girls are discouraged from getting whipped.

One effect of this ritual whipping is to create a strong debt between the young man and his sisters. Her scars are a mark of how she suffered for her brother. As for the young man leaping over the cattle, before the ceremony his head is partially shaved, he is rubbed with sand to wash away his sins, and smeared with dung to give him strength. Finally, strips of tree bark are strapped round his body in a cross, as a form of spiritual protection.

Meanwhile, the Maza and elders line up about 15 cows and castrated male cattle, which represent the women and children of the tribe. The cattle in turn are smeared with dung to make them slippery. To come of age, the man must leap across the line many times. If he falls it is a shame, but he can try again. If he is blind or lame he will be helped across the cattle by others. Only when he has been through this initiation rite can he marry the wife chosen for him by his parents, and start to build up his own herd.

At the end of the leap, he is blessed and sent off with the Maza who shave his head and make him one of their number. His kinsmen and neighbors decamp for a huge dance.

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The girls get to choose who they want to dance with and indicate their chosen partner by kicking him on the leg. Wife beating is an accepted part of life rather than a taboo, and the convention is that a man will not generally tell his wife why she is being whipped.

Hamar people

On the other hand, if a beating is severe then family or neighbors will step in; and after a couple have had two or three children, beating stops. Todaythe road network and local towns are expanding in this part of the Omo Valley. Some Hamar people are moving to town, going to school, forgetting traditions and choosing not to join in whipping rituals.

For others, towns are a place to sell surplus produce, and buy goods from outside. For the last 10 years, tourists have been visiting the Hamar to watch the cattle-leaping ceremonies. The Hamar appear to be confident in the survival of their traditions.


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