THE ETHIOPIAN HAMAR TRIBE: WHERE WOMEN ENTICE MEN TO WHIP THEM - Welcome to My Woven Words

THE ETHIOPIAN HAMAR TRIBE: WHERE WOMEN ENTICE MEN TO WHIP THEM


The Hamar people of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia consist of over 46,532 people. Omo Valley is a fertile part of the vast Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region of south-west Ethiopia, which is bordered by Kenya and South Sudan. Most still live in traditional villages, although growing numbers are migrating to the region's cities and towns as well as the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. These pastoral and polygamous people are popular for their traditional ‘jumping of bulls’. This ceremony often attracts neighbours and people foreign to their culture to witness it.

To reach manhood, Hamar boys must undergo two rituals: circumcision and a leap over the bulls. This determines whether the young Hamar male is ready to make the social jump from youth to adulthood.


After the ceremony held in the Omo River Valley, the boy becomes a man and is now allowed to marry. As the name implies, Hamar men are made to jump over 15 to 30 bulls naked as a rite into becoming a Maza. Mazas are men who have successfully passed through this rite and allowed to marry. The Ukuli the young initiated man, once he jumped the bulls, he become Cherkari (a social stage that he stays only for eight days). After eight days he transfer to the stage of Maza, and stay at this status until he marries and become Danza, the name for married Hamar men.

THE HAMAR UKULI BULA
The women of this tribe engage in a tribal ceremony during which they are flogged to show the sacrifices they make for their men. The tradition is known as Ukuli Bula and is done as part of a Rite of Passage ceremony for boys.
 Under Hamar rules, a man need not explain why he's delivering a beating. It is his prerogative to mete out as he sees fit




These whips, though painful, show that the women are dedicated to the men. The newly initiated Maza relatives are not left out. The number of scars on the back also shows the new Maza who loves him best. They take in the beating on the condition that he remembers them when they face difficulties.  Some whipping appears to be tender, others more aggressive. But once whipped, the girls proudly show off their scars - as proof of their courage and integrity. Women entice the Maza to use whips and canes on their backs by forcing them to beat them, sometimes against their wish. No screaming or pity is permitted by the men wielding the canes but the women don’t care. Instead of fleeing, they beg the men to do it again and again until blood flows, dripping into the gritty red dust of the Omo River Valley. Members of the Hamar tribe in Ethiopia believe the elaborate scars demonstrate a woman’s capacity for love, and if they fall on hard times later in life it allows them to call on those who whipped them for help. The women trumpet and sing, extolling the virtues of the young man at the heart of the ceremony, declaring their love for him and for their desire to be marked by the whip

After the whipping, tradition allows those women to call on help from those who marked them if ever they are in need of help. Young Hamar women sometimes coat their bodies with butter to lessen the effect of the whipping.



When this is complete, they go into the Evangadi (night dancing) before the families of the new Maza announce his first wife.
Their traditional clothes are made of goatskin. They also adorn their bodies by cutting their skin and adding ash and charcoal to the cuts. Hamar women are some of the most elaborately dressed of the region - with goatskin skirts decorated with glass beads, whilst their hair is covered with a mixture of grease and red ochre. Elaborate scarification of the body is also the custom of the Hamar. Hamar women are some of the most elaborately dressed of the region - with goatskin skirts decorated with glass beads, whilst their hair is covered with a mixture of grease and red ochre. Elaborate scarification of the body is also the custom of the Hamar
The men and the women do not have gender roles when taking care of their cattle. These cattle are used to define their wealth status and are used to also used to pay the woman’s bride price.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Hunter

Sources:
www.the-star.co.ke
www.dailymail.co.uk
www.adventureabyssinia.com
www.weddingdigestnaija.com
www.google.com
www.youtube.com

By Johnson Okunade

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1 comment

  1. This is a crazy culture.. it is suppose to be eradicated

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