BIZARRE TRIBE: THE SURMA PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA

THE SURMA PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA

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In the far-off and mountainous South Western region of Ethiopia lives a fascinating tribe called the Surma People. The people of this tribe are distinctive in their looks, they cover their bodies with paint and the women plug large plates in their lips. ‘Surma’ is the collective name for the Suri, the Mursi and the Me’en. The total population of the three tribes is close to 186,000.

These tribes have long maintained their bizarre traditions. One of them is realted to women. A slit is made in their lower lip after knocking out the two lower teeth , then a small wooden plug is inserted. The wooden plug is replaced overtime with a larger one until the lip-slit can afford to let in a 30 cm diameter clay or wooden plate. This, accroding to the Surmas’, is a sign of beauty and is done when a women reaches marriageable age.

Another weird tradition is drinking the mixture of cattle blood and milk. The Suri warriors after drinking this mixture participate in a ritual called the Cow Bleeding. The Surma men also participate in a ceremonial duel called the Donga. The men use wooden sticks to fight each other in order to prove their masculinity (often to seek a bride). The fight lasts until one of the men is defeated due to injuries

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