The Bodi Tribe In Ethiopia Where Men Drink Blood And Milk
Ethiopia is a land of many cultures that have also been preserved despite civilization. Along Lower Omo valley river in Southern Ethiopia resides one of these kinds: the Bodi Tribe. The Bodi people are neighbours to the Mursi Tribe. Bodi people are agriculturalists who still engage in trade by barter system. These pastoral people revere
their cows. Their cows are so special to them that its blood together with fresh milk is a source of food for this people. Rather than kill the cows, they make a hole in one of its veins to get the blood out and close it back with clay. These animals are used in certain ceremonies and among ceremonies is the peculiar new year celebration.
At the start of each year [ month of June in Gregorian calendar], they hold a “Ka’el ceremony” (ceremony of fat men) to also mark the new year celebrations. The Ka’el ceremony is a competition for men who are not married which involves drinking the blood mixture. The 14 clans present a man who is single and they deem fit for the
Kael, the fat men contest of the Bodi tribe
competition. Those who are contesting prepare for six months. During this period, he must not have sex and must not be seen outside his hut. There is a procedure for drinking the first bowl of 2 litres at sunrise while the rest comes easy and is taken all day. It is not unusual to also see some of these contestants vomit the mixture
The men design their bodies with clay and ashes before emerging from their huts for the walk to the spot where the ceremony will take place.
because two litres was more than they can drink. On the day of the competition, they cover themselves with clay and ashes and display their acrobatic skills. As part of the competition, they run around sacred trees for hours sometimes with the assistance of women. While at it, they are under the watchful eyes of their judges. After
Young men during the fat men ceremony
this, the people use a sacred stone on a cow before killing it. The intestines are then used to predict what the year holds. When a winner is chosen by the elderly judges, they crown him, fat man of the year title. Just like other beauty pageants, there is a prize only this time, it is the lifelong admiration of the Bodi people.