Friday, 27 June 2008

Brent Stirton: Omo Valley/Bull Jumping

© Brent Stirton/Courtesy Discovery Channel

I've featured Brent Stirton's fabulous work on the Omo Valley a few months ago, and now bring him back with a Quicktime movie of the bull-jumping ceremony (click the small arrow above to start it).

The bull-jumping ceremony is an important ritual performed by some of the tribes of the Omo Valley region of southern Ethiopia, and is considered a sort of a rite of passage in a tribal man’s life. Bull jumping is a prerequisite for a man to take a wife and have children, and it involves him undergoing a number of rituals before leaping onto and running over the backs of cattle.

I witnessed the bull-jumping ceremony not far from Turmi, a village in the Omo Valley, and was taken aback (an understatement) by a preceding ritual involving the women of the Hamar tribe tribe being whipped by the men in their families.