RT Infuse - шаблон joomla Авто

Karo and Hamar

The Karo (or Kara), with a population of about 1000 - 1500 live on the east banks of the Omo River in southern Nation and Nationalities regional State, Ethiopia. Their neighbors are the Hamar, Bana, Bashada, the famous Mursi and Nyangatom (on the other side of Omo River). They speak a south Omotic language.

The Karo grow sorghum, maize and beans. Karo use to paint body and decorate their face. They use white (chalk), black (charcoal), yellow, ochre, and red earth... Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves .The scarification of a man's chest shows that he has killed an enemy or a dangerous animal. The scars are done with a knife or razor blade and ash is rubbed into. The wearing of a grey and ochre clay hair bun also indicates the killing of an enemy or a dangerous animal. Hamar do the same. The women have a very distinctive hair dress: they put red clay mixed with butter in their hair, so that the hair looks like a bunch of coffee beans. Ladies still use leather clothing made from animal skins. The men all use a wood headrest called Borkota to protect their hair bun, and they use it to sit too. At the end of the harvest and at times of initiation and marriage, the Karo come together to enjoy dances with a lot of local beer. These happy times often lead to marriage after the young man has successfully accomplished the bull jumping.


The rite of passage and social obligatory ritual for men coming of age must be done before a man is permitted to marry. The Boy-to-be must "jump the cattle" four times to be successful and only castrated male cattle and cows may be used to jump over. This test is performed while naked (except for a few cords bound across the chest) as a symbol of the childhood he is about to leave behind him. On completion of this test, the young man joins the ranks of the maze - other men who have recently passed the same test and who spend the next few months of their lives supervising these events in villages throughout the Hamar territory. The cattle are held still by maze, so the physical risk is limited.

The maze is also responsible for a ritual which precedes the main cattle jump. The village's women (and in particular, the would-be jumper's sisters and close relative) purposefully provoke the maze into lashing their bare backs with sticks which inflict raw, open wounds and scar them for life. However, these wounds are seen as the mark of a true Hamar woman, and all the village's women were not only consenting, but eager to participate. Because the sister or relative was whipped at the man's ceremony and endured the pain for him she can later in life look to him for help if she falls on hard times because she has the scars from the whipping she received for him to prove his debt to her. After successfully accomplishing the event on open barrel place left for this ceremony, the feast will continue in the boy’s home where the family was preparing food and drinks several months before. This day might be his wedding day since he passed the test, however, very rare happened.

For egalitarian people of lower Omo valley this rite passage is very important and the only means to sign up into the elder member who will be fore head for social, economical and Political issues on behalf their village, in respect of wealth and education background.