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Ethiopian Tribe Have A Ritual Where Men Compete To Put On Weight

Michael Minay

| Last updated 

Ethiopian Tribe Have A Ritual Where Men Compete To Put On Weight

If someone set you, and your mates, a challenge to get as overweight as you could in six months, who do you reckon would win?

What would be your tactics? Booze, binge-eat and no exercise for half-a-year?

Believe it or not, there is a competition amongst Ethiopian tribesmen where they aim to get as big a waistline as possible.

Members of the Bodi tribe will drink nothing but fresh milk and blood from cows to pile on the pounds.

Now, what could make that challenge seem negative? Well, they are not allowed to have sex or leave their hut during this six-month race.

An unmarried man, in each family, must live in effective isolation for the duration while women and girls deliver milk and blood each morning in pots or bamboos.

After six months the largest waistline simply becomes the pride of the tribe - with women finding a plus-size waist attractive.

Credit: Exclusive Pix Media

Credit: Exclusive Pix Media

The contest forms part of the Ka'el ritual which is held to mark the New Year. Each family presents its unmarried man for the challenge - a little Hunger Games-esc - who then knows his fate for the next half year.

Eric Lafforgue, who took the photos explained: "The cows are sacred to the Bodi tribe so they are not killed. The blood is taken by making a hole in a vein with a spear or an axe, and after that, they will close with clay.

"The fat men drink milk and blood all day long," he said. "The first bowl of blood is drunk at sunrise. The man must drink it quickly before it coagulates, but some cannot drink everything and vomit."

Credit: Exclusive Pix Media

Six months later and the big day arrives. They cover themselves in clay and ashes before emerging from their hut.

Credit: Exclusive Pix Media

As 'bizarre' rituals go, this would appear to be quite moderate.

Some African tribes take much more extreme practices in their work: The Maasai tribe are known for female genital mutilation. The Surma tribes see men fight to impress a lady for marriage and the Hamer tribe have a tradition of women 'bull-jumping'.

For how much longer this is a tradition though remains to be seen. The Ethiopian government wants to resettle 300,000 people from all over the country on the Bodi tribe's land.

Featured Image Credit: Exclusive Pix Media

Michael Minay
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