April 19, 2013
Also well known as the hamar or hammer, they are one of the most known tribes in Southern Ethiopia. They inhabit the territory east of the Omo River and have villages in Turmi and Dimeka. Tourists visit the hamer hoping to see a traditional leaping ceremony (the jumping of bulls).
They are cattle herders and practice agriculture. Very colorful bracelets and beads are worn in their hair and around their waists and arms. The practice of body modification is used by cutting themselves and packing the wound with ash and charcoal. Some of the women wear circular wedge necklaces indicating that they are married. Men paint themselves with white chalk to prepare for a ceremony. Hair ornaments worn by the men indicate a previous kill of an enemy or animal.
The traditional bull jumping is a rite of passage for men coming of age. The event last three days and involves only castrated cattle. The man must jump over a line of 10 to 30 bulls four times completely nude without falling. If this task is complete, the man joins the ranks of the Maza. Maza are other men that have successfully completed the bull jumping event. During this ceremony, the women of the tribe provoke the maza to whip them on their bare backs. This is extremely painful and causes severe scaring on the women. The scars are a symbol of devotion to the men and are encouraged by the tribe. Night dancing called evangadi is also a Hamer tradition.
The Hammers have unique huts that are made up of mud, wood and straw.