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The Hamer People

The Hamar occupy a mountainous region in the eastern part of the lower Omo Valley. Their name is also spelled Hamer. The “Jumping the bull” ceremony is the most spectacular rite of passage in Southern Ethiopia. This ceremony marks the initiation of young men in to adult hood. The main players are the initiates, those who are going to jump the bulls and the maz, those recently initiated who have already undergone this rite.

The initiate boys are required to jump in to the backs of formidable obstacle jump down on to the other side and then repeat the entire procedure on the day after the “jumping the bull” ceremony, women gather together, beautifully attired in their bedded skins and iron jeweler. Hammer women wear their hair in dense ringlets smeared with mud and clarified butter4 and topped off with a head featuring oblongs of gleaming aluminum courtship daces follow and continue for the following two days and night.

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