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    Loret Dawit


      The Hamar are a community of people inhabiting the South-West of Ethiopia in Hamer woreda, a fertile part of the Omo River valley. They are located in the Gemu Gofa province, the East of the Omo River and North of Lake Turkana. The Hamar people are widely pastoralists which makes them place a high value on cattle.



      They consist of two separate ethnic groups namely the Hamer and the Banna who speak the same language. The Hamer belong to a group of culturally distinctive people called the Sidamo.



      They have a ritual passage of initiating a boy into manhood by Bull Jumping. The process begins with female relatives dancing and inviting whipping from men who have recently been initiated, which shows their support of the initiative. The boy who is being initiated must run back and forth twice across the backs of a row of bulls or castrated steers, if by chance he fails the challenge, he will be ridiculed. The scars from being whipped give them a say on who they marry.



      The Hamer-Banna men have a striking and elaborate way of styling their hair. They do this with clay, creating a sculpture of sorts that is painted and decorated with feathers and other ornaments. Sometimes it is styled with various pigments, mostly red and white, and in smoothing the clay they create a very small protruding tube in which they house ostrich feathers from their hunts. In styling the hair, much time is spent protecting it from damage as it requires great care.



      The Hamar man sleeps on small cushioned stools because of their style of hair. They wear toga-like cloth and carry a spear and a stool while the women commonly wear colorful toga-like garments.



      Hamar men can marry as many women as they like, only within their own tribe. During the wedding rites, a bride price of cattle and other goods is provided by the prospective husband and his near relatives.



      A typical Hamar household, it consists of a woman, her children, and a male protestor who may be the protector of more than one household, depending on the number of wives he has.  Sometimes, men can be assigned the responsibility of protecting a divorced woman, a widow, or the wife of an absent husband who is usually his brother. The wedding celebrations include feasting and dancing.



      Young girls and boys of the Hamar tribe are circumcised.

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