Bull Jumping

The Hamer, Tsemay, Banna and Besada people share traditions and rituals. One of the most important one from these traditions is the so-called 'jumping over the bull'. If a young man wants to marry the girl of his choice he will have to jump over bulls picked by the girl's family. They have to run over the backs of about ten cattles standing side by side - four times, falling not allowed.

He is required to jump over them four times: two times in each direction. He is assisted by friends (called the 'maz'); those who have successfully performed the jumping in previous years. They (try to) hold the cattle to prevent the young candidate from falling. If the jumper fails, it is considered a bad sign and he will have another chance a year later. Not seldom will the people blame the wind in case of his failure, and will they allow the aspiring groom a second chance. If the groom-to-be succeeds, he may keep the girl in exchange for cattle given to her family. For two months the betrothed couple will share blood and milk (blood from the cow's neck is mixed with her milk and drunk). A wealthy, strong man may marry up to four women.