Anecdotes from Ethiopia - land of proud traditions

We attended  a ceremony by the Hamar people. Here women where whipped and young men was "jumping" bulls.

The ritual consisted of dancing, chanting, whipping of women and one young man who had to run on bulls until the crowd was satisfied with his skills. After the bull-jumping the crowd would start dancing and chanting again.

Initiation is a transitional ritual from being a boy/girl to becoming a man/woman.

To my european eyes this was not everyday at all. In fact I never expected to witness anything like this - ever. Everybody seemed quite happy and very excited. The women did fight for their places in the queue to get scars on their backs from the ritual whipper. They might even tease him to get his attention. The whipping sound left no question about whether or not it was real. It sounded like gunshots and we saw flesh being torn causing bleeding. No smiles did disappear. If anything - they seemed even happier after receiving this treatment.

Women getting whipped

Women getting whipped

Women chasing the "whipper"

Women chasing the "whipper"

The women will wear their scars with pride.

Women with completely scared backs.

Women with completely scared backs.

Characteristic hairstyle of Hamar Women - clay is used to get this look.

Characteristic hairstyle of Hamar Women - clay is used to get this look.

Women sitting talking. One woman has just been whipped and has some kind of lotion applied - maybe she will take one more round when the talk is over.

Women sitting talking. One woman has just been whipped and has some kind of lotion applied - maybe she will take one more round when the talk is over.

The Hamar people are very proud of their cattle. Some families might have cattle worth a fortune. They don't slaughter them though and in bad times people owning a lot of cattle might die from hunger. The cattle are worth more alive than as food. Pride is important.

Man walking with cattle across a shallow river

Man walking with cattle across a shallow river

When the dancing and chanting was over we heard thunder and it started raining. Nice feature for the entire experience of this ritual.

People walking with cattle for the ritual spot of "bulljumping"

People walking with cattle for the ritual spot of "bulljumping"

Bulls standing in a row before the ritual.

Bulls standing in a row before the ritual.

Man before taking his jump.

Man before taking his jump.

Man jumping into manhood.

Man jumping into manhood.

After watching the ritual the river we had passed on our way to the site was now less easy to pass and the current had become stronger. Perhaps caused by the rain nearly a hundred people (including ourselves) crossed the river on foot. 4 tourists hesitated......perhaps they are still to be found in the area.

Picture showing people crossing a river. The limitations are in our heads

Picture showing people crossing a river. The limitations are in our heads