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The Hamer Peoples

hamerEvangadi Dancing Hammer The Hamers are pastoralists and number 30,000. They are known for practice of body adornment and wearing a multitude of colorful beads. Women adorn their necks with heavy polished iron jewelry. Hamer society consists of a complex system of age groups. Moving from one age group to another involves complicated rituals. The most significant ceremony for young men is the “jumping of the bull” – the final test before passing in to adulthood. Several days before the ceremony, initiates pass out invitation in the form of dried knotted grass. The ceremony lasts three days. Late in the afternoon on the final day, ten to thirty bulls are lined up side by side. The naked initiate rushes towards the animal, vaults onto the first bull’s back and then runs across the line of animals. At the end of the line, he turns back to repeat the performance in the opposite direction. He must make this unstable journey without falling. The Hamer men have a reputation of being less than adoring husbands. The women submit to the ritual floggings proudly and love to show the deep scars that are regarded as a proof of devotion to their husbands.