The Hamer is an ethnical tribal group found in southwestern Ethiopia. These people stay within the district of Hamer Bena woreda a fertile area in the Omo River valley, within the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR). The Hamer are mainly pastoralists, therefore cattle is of great value to them.
The Hammer are semi-nomadic pastoralists moving every after a couple of months in search for pastures for their cattle and goats. Their Huts are spherical and conical built from a dome-frame of branches and covered using hide grass plus mats. Approximately twenty huts are around a gathering place where feasts plus dances are conducted, plus a pen for their cattle and goats and these make a single village. The Hammer usually conduct trade for corn plus sorghum with their neighbors since they do not cultivate these themselves. They obtain milk plus meat from the Goats plus Cattle. The Sorghum is used to make a pancakes or porridge as well as consumed with a stew. The Men generally put on a checkered cloth skirt whereas the women put on skirts made of cow skin.
This is a rite-of-passage ceremony for where boys become men and this is mandatory before a man is allowed to marry. The “man-to-be” has to “jump the cattle” 4 times to be victorious and strictly castrated cattle plus cows are lined to be jumped over. This rite is performed when naked with just a couple of cords bound on the chest as a mark of the childhood the boy is about to transform from. On achievement of this test, this young man then joins the status of the maza – (the other men who recently passed this very test and who will spend the following couple of months supervising these rituals within the villages in the Hamar region. Not like the Minoan “bull-leaping”, here the animals (cattle) are held at a standstill by maza, therefore reducing the risk of physical injury.
The ceremonies conclude with a number of days’ feasting, with the characteristic jump dancing, accompanied by plenty of sorghum beer based on how much the “bull-jumper’s” family can offer to the guests.