The Hamar Tribe

The Hamar live among the bush covered hills on the eastern side of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. 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. The Hamar man comes of age by leaping over a line of 15 castrated male cows. It’s the ceremony which qualifies him to marry, own cattle and have children. During the leaping process, the man’s female relatives demand to be whipped as part of the ceremony. The girls go out to meet the Maza (the ones who will whip them). The whipping appears to be consensual; the girls gather round and beg to be whipped on their backs. They don’t show the pain they must feel and they say they’re proud of the scars. What a way to get married!!!

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