Do you think you know everything there is to know about African customs? Here are some unusual African customs.
Some of these strange customs have survived civilization for many years. These ethnic groups follow certain traditions that will astound you.
- Stealing each other’s wives – Niger
Men are known to steal each other’s wives in the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, West Africa. The Wodaabe’s first marriage is set up by their parents when they are young, and it must be between cousins from the same lineage. Wodaabe men, on the other hand, dress up in elaborate makeup and costumes and dance to impress the women – and hopefully steal a new wife – at the annual Gerewol Festival.
A man becomes socially recognized if he is able to flee undetected (especially from a current husband who may not want to part with his wife).
- The Massai tribe uses spitting as a form of greeting
The Massai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania greets each other by spitting. Spitting is a way of greeting, just as the English man would say hello.
Aside from that, when a baby is born, it is customary for men to spit on him and call him “bad.” They believe that by doing so, the baby will be protected from evil spirits. Before shaking the hand of an elder, Maasai warriors spit in their hands. The Massai tribe is also known for its practice of drinking fresh animal blood.
- Malawi’s Festival of the Dead
The Chewa people are a Bantu tribe who live primarily in Malawi.
It is customary to wash the body of the deceased during a tribe member’s burial ceremony.
The body is taken to a sacred location where the dead are cleansed by slitting their throats and pouring water through their bodies.
The water is sucked out of the body until it is completely dry. After that, the water is collected and used to cook a meal for the entire community.
- Ethiopian bull-jumping
In Ethiopia, young boys are required to go through a series of events in order to prove their manhood.
Unclothed, a young boy must run, jump, and land on the back of a bull. Following that, older men run across the backs of several bulls arranged in a straight and closely-knit herd pulled by their tails and horns. Hamar is the name given to this practice.
- Potency test in Uganda
Marriage is a huge burden for the bride’s aunt in the Banyankole tribe, a Ugandan minority tribe.
When a couple wants to marry, the aunt must have sex with the groom as a “potency test,” and also she has to test the bride’s virginity.
- Beating to earn a wife – Fulani
Before getting married, the Fulani tribes practice Sharo. The groom is beaten by the community’s elders in order to gain a wife and respect. The wedding will be called off if the man is not strong enough to bear the pain.
Aside from flogging, the bride’s family can choose from Koowgal, a dowry payment option, or Kabbal, an Islamic ceremony similar to marriage but without the bride and groom.
- Ethiopian and Sudanese lip stretching
Surma tribe members can be found in southern Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia. Females undergo the lip stretching procedure during their teenage years, which involves the removal of their lower teeth to make room for a lip plate, which is gradually increased in size until it reaches an incredible size.
Some of the men engage in a similar ear exercise. They also use scars to indoctrinate their warriors, known as’stick fighters,’ with the belief that the more scars they have, the more attractive they are to female tribe members.
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