Hamar Bull Jumping Ceremony - Remote Village Omo Valley Ethiopia - 2019

The Hamar tribe in Omo Valley practice a unique traditional ritual - the bull jumping ceremony - the culmination of a three-day rite of passage for a young Hamar man transitioning into manhood. The ultimate initiation ritual is when the coming-of-age young Hamer man has to leap naked across the backs of a line of 10-16 cattle four times without falling, thereby earning the right to become a Maza and marry. (Maza are young men who have already been initiated and are still single). The jumper’s Hamar female relatives, wearing goat skins and bells around their legs, dance and jump frenetically while blowing loud horns. On the afternoon of the leap, these women (except the mother) are whipped by the Maza with sticks as part of the ritual ceremony. They flirt with the Maza begging them to whip their backs to prove their love and strength to the jumper. They show no signs of pain. The bloody wounds and deep scars symbolise her total loyalty to him. They are proud of their scars and empowerment.

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