5 Fascinating African Traditions

Have you ever courted your spouse through dancing and or had a full plate-size piercing just for the sake of beauty? No?

Well, these are everyday things in traditions. They are not recognized and represent a part of African culture that fascinates people worldwide. We have been lucky to catch five of these fascinating traditional rites in Africa, and here is what we learned about them. There are approximately 3,000 tribes that originated in Africa, ranging from the San people of South Africa to the Berbers of Morocco. And among these tribes, we can notice a very alluring pattern: colors and dances. Like in European civilization, it is rare to seduce or entertain during such unique rituals. Now let’s go into a more profound acknowledgment of 5 of the most impressive African traditions you have ever heard of.

1 - Wodaabe seduction dance

Dance might be the most fit and entertaining sport worldwide, but it doesn’t equate to its natural goal; you got it: courtship. From animals to birds and even bees, courtship dances are often done in a season when males want to attract their mates. Well, men from the Wodaabe Tribe in Niger have made this a mating ritual.

     The “ Guéréwol” is a seasonal ritual and competition amongst young men of the Wodaabe tribe to find their future spouses. They dress up in sophisticated ornaments as headscarves and paint their faces with natural clay and other painting materials; find some of them here. The main phase of the ritual starts when they gather in line and start dancing with all their energy. Particularly in this ritual, there are judges. Yes! A marriageable young woman can choose her future husband just through this technique. The young men are often selected according to their bright eyes and teeth, then show off their manly attributes in a seductive dance until they get the attention of their desired one.

2 - A plate on the lip

In the eastern part of Africa, in a country called Ethiopia, lives an uncommon tribe, the Mursi. These indigenous people have a beauty standard quite astonishing compared to what we know society’s standards are, and well, let me tell you that it was a shock when we learned that the size of your piercing equates to the beauty of your soul.

Yup! Not only must it be significant, but it must also have a specific shape, like a plate.

By the age of 15 or 16, young girls get their lower lips cut by their mothers or any older woman and introduce in a large pottery or wooden plate. A wooden plug holds The cut open for about three months until it completely heals. Peer pressure is the main motive of this ritual because, even though this tribe is quite culturally old, it is a personal choice for the girl to decide if she will get the piercing. Quite strange. However, try our piercing kit.

3 - Holé Torrero!

Ethiopia has one common point with Italian culture and its love for Tauruses. Nope, they don’t hang a red tissue in front of it to kill it, but they dance with it!

The Hamar Tribe, also called the Hamer Tribe, created the most athletic initiation ritual: bull jumping. During three days, all the young boys of the tribe gather with the elders, who line up the bulls for them to jump over. An athletic discipline, you might say, and it is! The young boys, initiates, must walk over fifteen castrated bulls rubbed in a mug to make their backs slippery. Risky game for the young initiate, who will have to wait another year to retake the test if he fails. But surprise ! If he succeeds on his first attempt, he’s ready to marry a girl his parents will choose for him, raise a family with her and have his cattle. An excellent gift for great discipline, worth more than a medal!

4 - Red Rapunzel

In the east-south of Africa, in the Namibian tribe of the Himba, girls have the privilege of tinting their hair with Otjize. A homemade substance made of butter, fat, and red ochre, giving the hair and skin a red-tinged color. They can start the process as soon as they can care for themselves. What about trying tinting our hair to make the experience?

You might wonder about the reasons for such a tradition: sun protection, insect repellent, or even a hair growth solution. Nope! The Hima women say it’s purely for aesthetic reasons, to differentiate themselves from the other tribes just like you would put makeup on for your good, your own will, and your pleasure!

5 - spitting as a sign of blessing

In Kenya, not too far from Ethiopia, another tribe has a different ritual for a different situation and with another significance. Even though it might seem disgusting to you, for them, it’s not. The people of the Maasai tribe view spitting as a form of good manners. Respectfully !. Maasai people use spitting to greet or say goodbye, solve a conflict, or wish good luck to peers. As you sometimes see in Western movies of cowboys spitting in their hands before a deal, so do the Maasai people. (Yes, that’s where it comes from.)

When a baby is born, family members will welcome him by spitting on him to wish him good luck and long life. "Quite strange it is! " Not only for babies but on the wedding day, the bride gets her father to spit on her forehead as a blessing and a wish for a long-lasting marriage. Thank you, Father!

Now that you know about some of the most impressive African traditions, which would you like to try? Let us know if you have ever heard of these traditions or if you are interested in having a one-lifetime experience in any of these countries.