Bodi or Me’en Tribe

April 19, 2013

The Bodi speak the Bodi language as a mother tongue, which belongs to the Nilo-Saharan language family. The Bodi or Me’en is the name of a semi-nomadic tribe leaving in the Omo valley, about 140 km from Jinka town, Ethiopian Southern town. South of the Bodi are the Mursi tribe. Although they do cultivate sorghum, maize and coffee along the banks of the Omo River, their culture is very much cattle centered. Similar to the Mursi, livestock plays an important role in marriage, divination, and name-giving rituals. The Bodi classification of cattle is complex, with over eighty words to denote different colors and patterns.

Every year, they celebrate their new year, ‘Kel’ (Bodi New year Celebration) between June and July, depending on the full moon, the rains. This celebration is a bit different than a usual new year celebration’s as the tradition is to feed young men from every Bodi village. They are feeded only with honey, cow blood and milk during 3-6 months (fatning process). They manage then to almost double their weight, being then ready for the competition. On the competition day, they arrive to the Bode King village and after the dance they are measured by the elders who then decide who is the winner and the fattest after the competition.

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