While Europeans and Americans fanatically struggle with every extra kilogram, the male representatives of the African body tribe try to grow the biggest belly among their tribesmen—those who succeed become true heroes and get all sorts of preferences.
It is hard to call the lives of the different tribes in Ethiopia well-fed, but when you look at some of the Bodi tribesmen, you can’t help but wonder if they go to McDonald’s for lunch. And if the men of all the other Ethiopian tribes are lean athletes with a pronounced waistline and powerful muscles, the Bodi men are sort of burly macho men with huge bellies. The members of this tribe consider Body-skinned men as the embodiment of wealth and health.
Celebration of Kel
Over several centuries of this way of life, the Bodi tribe has developed a folk festival called “completion of fat men”. It is held in the middle of summer and lasts for 1-2 days. Only men take part in it. Preparations for the feast begin several months in advance and for those who have many cows, even half a year in advance.
Only young and unmarried men can take part in the holiday. Having decided to participate in the “competition of fat men”, the man begins to eat only fatty milk and the blood of cows, refusing any other food. During this preparation, the man practically does not leave the hut and is actively gaining weight.
On the day of the celebration, men paint their bodies, decorate their heads with a band of feathers and shells, hang a necklace on their chests, gird themselves with ropes and proudly follow to the place of the holiday. The road is not easy for them – after all, a sedentary lifestyle and rapid weight gain do not pass without a trace. But the title of the fattest man of this tribe gives serious preferences.
The entire tribe and elders await the participants at the venue. Participants gracefully pass in front of the audience, showing their bellies. The fattest is bestowed by the elders the title of the hero of the tribe, which he will wear for life. And since the champion is still single at this time, the chances of successfully marrying him increase significantly. It is real happiness for any girl of the tribe to get a fat man as a husband.
Society and life
The tribe is practicing the principle of polygamy. This has its meaning – the more wives, the more children – potential workers.
The tribe is divided into approximately 15 clans, consisting of families. An elder rules each clan. All elders have the right to conduct different councils. The Bodi tribe is characterized by animism when all phenomena and objects have their spirit.
Savages live in complete harmony and peace with nature. Spirits just do not bother, contacting them only on rare occasions. The leader is called komoro. After death, this position is transferred to the successor in accordance with the tribal ritual.
The day passes depending on the patterns of the day. In the morning, everyone wakes up, and before the heat comes, the shepherds drive the cows out to graze while the rest of the tribe waits for the air to warm up a little. After about 1.5 hours, you can get out of the huts and do various activities until about noon.
As soon as noon comes, the tribe gathers under the shade of trees or is located under the roofs of houses, since, at this time, the air temperature warms up by more than 40 degrees, and it is simply impossible to do anything. At this time, the tribe is resting in the shade, and someone is doing a little manual labor, playing, or just indulging in a nap. After the heat subsides in the evening, you can get back to work.
In the tribe, everyone, without exception, likes to decorate the body with scars. Women believe that the more such scars on their body, the more pleasant it is for a man to touch them. The whole procedure is carried out without any special preparations and even without disinfection. Often, women and men make scars themselves using knives, razors, ordinary sticks.
Those representatives of the tribe who are not yet ready for such a ceremony can simply draw something on the body. As a rule, drawings are also applied during the holidays.
The now widespread Afro-braids came directly from here. For a long time, women in bodysuits have been creating twisted spirals of hair on their heads. The strands are rubbed with fat for a stronghold and then sprinkled with fine clay on top. When the clay grasps, it will fix the pigtail well.
Also, all bodysuits are incredibly fond of decorating themselves with various gizmos, such as beads from sparkling keys, earrings from pieces of plastic bottles. They do not carry any ritual meanings, but at the same time, they are very attractive to the natives.
Grin of civilization
Since ancient times, the Bodi tribe has been engaged in hunting, but they gradually mastered cattle breeding, simultaneously developing the cult of animals that they value. To this day, cows are the main currency and an indicator of the well-being of their owner. In addition, over time, the Bodi was forced to master farming as well.
Currently, the number of representatives of the Bodi tribe is approximately 7000 people. These people depend directly on livestock and their pastures. Recently, civilization began to approach them closely.
The Ethiopian government begins work to build dams and power plants in these areas. Large areas, which have always belonged to the body, were given to real estate developers. And the aborigines began to be resettled further from the river. Bodi tribal men who are unable to fight leave their homes, others are forced to hide and wage hidden wars.