The Hamer are a tribal community living in the lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia. these people still live according to tradition, practice ancestral rites and celebrate ancient rituals.
Among these, one of the most important rites for their culture is the bull leap, it is the rite of passage to move from puberty to adulthood, which every boy must complete in order to be considered a man, in order to get married and create his own family, this rite of passage ends with the ritual of bull jumping, which is the most salient and best-known moment.
In the period before the bull leap, the boy spends time with an adult man who mentors him and teaches him behavior, rituals and everything he needs to know to become a man.
The actual ceremony takes place in an open space free from huts and fences, near the village and begins in the early afternoon:
The women wear traditional clothes and large anklets with many bells and begin to walk, dance and jump in a circle, playing trumpets and calling the men (the Maza, men who have already passed the test, but still single) who will have the task to whip them with thin flexible branches.
women stand in front of a Maza and blow the trumpet, They ask to be whipped by these men as a way to show their dedication and loyalty towards their male relatives.
The idea here is to create a strong bond, an obligation, between them.
In reality, Hamer women reach a state of ecstasy thanks to the sorghum beer that they drink in quantity, to the dancing, to the sound of bells and trumpets, and this allows them to face and face the whippings; which will cause deep wounds in the back.
At a certain point the Maza gather together and begin to shave and paint their faces and bodies and to purify themselves before going to choose the oxen for the jump, and during the test they will have an important task, that of keeping the oxen still in line for the jump.
At this point the initiate, naked and partially shaved, prepares to jump, concentrates, takes a running start and jumps on the back of the first bull, and then runs on the backs of all the other cattle lined up until he reaches the other side and go down to the ground repeating the test back and forth for at least 4 times, the boy can choose to add other animals to the line of cattle if he believes he is particularly strong and prepared.
If he falls, he fails the ceremony and must try again in a year