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Hamar man sitting on his seat - Ethiopia | by Eric Lafforgue
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Hamar man sitting on his seat - Ethiopia

Hamar in Turmi, Ethiopia.

The Hamar live on the eastern side of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. They are a tribe with unique rituals such as a bull-leaping ceremony that young men go through in order to to marry, own cattle and have children, whereupon young Hamar women get whipped to prove their love and strenght to the relative who jumps.

Honey collection is a major activity and their cattle is the focus of their life. There are at least 27 words for the subtle variations of colour and texture of cattle - and every man has 3 names: a human name, a goat name, and a cow name.

The Hamar are very pre-occupied with their beauty. They have at times spectular haidresses. They use a wooden head rest that prevents the hair from touching the ground.

To indicate that they have killed an enemy and a dangerous animal such as a lion or a leopard, men put clay hair helmet into which ostrich feathers are inserted. This is done after having shaven the front head. The clay bun is usually remade every three to six months and can be worn for a period of up to one year after the kill.

Some Hamar believe that evil exists in certain unholy or impure things, which are the causes of some disastrous circumstances like drought and epidemics on the village. Twins, a child born outside of formal marriages are considered to possess mingi (abnormality, pollution, unclean) and, for this reason, they are abandonned into the bush to die.

   

Les hamar vivent sur la partie est de la vallée de l'Omo dans le sud de l'Ethiopie. Ils sont celebres pour la ceremonie du saut de vaches, durant laquelle les jeunes gens doivent marcher sur une quinzaine de betes alignées sans tomber pour pouvoir se marier et avoir des enfants. Pendant cette ceremonie, les femmes de la famille du suateur se font fouetter violement le dos pour le soutenir.

Les Hamar soignent leur apparence, et surtout leur coiffure. les hommes utilisent tous un appui tete en bois pour la proteger lorsqu'ils dorment.

Pour indiquer qu"ils ont tué un ennemi ou un animal dangereux, les hommes se confectionnent un petit casque d'argile à l'arriere de la tete, dans lequel ilx fixent une plume d'autruche. Le casque d'argile peut etre conservé tres longtemps. Il fait aussi office de décoration.

Certains Hamar croient toujours en des forces et signes malefiques pour le village, la famille ou leur vie. Ainsi, les jumeaux, les enfants nés hors mariage, sont considerés comme mingi (pas purs) et sont abandonnés à la naissance dans le bush. Le sacrifice des enfants se retrouve dans d'autres tribus de la région. les parents preferent tuer l'enfant plutot que de voir la famile ou la communauté frappée par le mauvais oeil.

 

© Eric Lafforgue

www.ericlafforgue.com

  

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Taken on October 27, 2008