Hamer men preparing the bull jumping ceremony, Turmi, Omo valley, Ethiopia
The Hamar have very unique rituals such as a bull-leaping ceremony, that a young men has to succeed in order to get married. The cow jumping is an initiation rite of passage for boys coming of age in Hamar tribe. Cows are lined up in a row. The initiate, naked, has to leap on the back of the first cow, then from one bull to another, until he finally reaches the end of the row. He must not fall of the row and must repeat successfully the test four times to have the right to become a husband. While the boys walk on cows, Hamar women accompany him: they jump and sing. Totally committed to their initiated sons, the mothers and sisters are whipped to blood, in order to prove their courage and accompany the boy during the test. It is incredible to see the girls asking the whipper to beat them, and even fighting to be the first to!
© Eric Lafforgue