Strange African Traditions

10 Strange African Traditions

Afrika, that we always see in films or documentaries… A unique, mystical, free and bloody territory… A continent whose people preserve their culture to its fullest, also… A history full of wars, be it tribal or international, bloodshed and a large effect of colonialism. Nowadays, you can see countries in Africa whose official language is English or French. In all the hustle&bustle, though, African people still preserve their traditions, at the very least their ways of perception. Especially in tribal communities, it is possible to observe numerous thousand-year-old traditions, which haven’t been distorted by the modern world even a bit! But was it the right decision to preserve those values? Here are 10 interestingly unique African traditions for you to decide!

However, if you searched for African Traditions on any search engine, we believe that it means you are interested in diverse cultures and traditions in general, so below are two more articles related to the customs and traditions of more countries, have a look!

a. Turkish Wedding Traditions

b. Common Superstitions Between Russia and Turkey

1. In the Gerewol Festival, carried out by the Wodaabe Tribe in Niger, everybody dances at night and some men steal the women of the tribe, no matter if they’re married or not! Unless they’re caught by the husband of the woman or the woman refuses the union, the tribe recognizes the fresh marriage legitimately. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Wodaabe Men / Wodaabe erkekleri

2. In many parts of South Africa, the groom has to pay the “bride price“, called “lobolo” in order to get married. The natives of the region believe that the bride prices strenghtens the relationship between two families, fostering mutual respect and support. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Damadın ailesinden gelinin ailesine…

From the groom (in return?) for the bride… / Damadın ailesinden gelinin ailesine…

3. For the Masai, living in Kenya and northern Tanzania, spitting has a way too different meaning. Spitting for the sake of greeting one another, the Masai spit in their hands before hand shaking. Also spitting on the bodies of new born babies, they say that the baby is evil and bad. This way, they believe that evil spirits will not haunt the baby. The belief is similar to the concept of “hex” in some cultures. (Source),

Masai genci

Masai genci

Masai youth / Masai genci

4. In the Banyankole tribe, a minority tribe living in Uganda, marriage means quite a burden to the bride’s aunt. When a couple wants to get married, the aunt has to have sex with the groom as a “potency test” and furthermore, she has to test the bride’s virginity. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

-Yeğenin mi var derdin var…

– It’s hard to be the aunt, no? / -Yeğenin mi var derdin var…

5. Malagasy people, living in Madagascar, go to their relatives’ graves every 5 or 7 years. There they exhume the dead and “dance the funeral away” with live music. This strange tradition is called Famadihana, believed to be a symbol of the love and respect to the dead. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Madagaskar’da cenaze coşkusu

Funeral Jubilation in Madagascar / Madagaskar’da cenaze coşkusu

6. There is yet another ritual in many parts of Africa, especially in Malawi, that is called “widow cleansing“. The tribesmen, believing that the widow’s soul has been stained by the death of her husband, force the widow to have sex with the dead man’s brother, a relative or a fellow tribesman so that her soul is cleansed and the deceased’s soul is freed. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Malawi’de dul bir kadın olmak…

Being a “widow” in Malawi / Malawi’de dul bir kadın olmak…

7. Also observed in South America, lip plates that are placed in the lipes of 15-16 year-old girls by their mothers by cutting their lips are predominantly used by the Mursi, Surma and Sara tribes today. Although it is quite ambiguous why they perform this operation, some people believe that the girl to get the highest “bride price” gets the bigger lip plate. Some other suggest that lip plates are used so that the girls will not attract the slave traders’ attention. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Surma kadını

Surma Woman / Surma kadını

8. In the Hamar tribe of Ethiopia, there is an interesting initiation tradition as well. A tradition that harms not only the boy, basically. Firstly, the female friends of the boy to take the test dance and get beated by their elders, until they have actual wounds on their bodies. This shows their loyalty to their friends. After that, the boy has to announce his manhood by stepping over 4 bulls and making 3 turns back and forth. Actually, the boy announces his manhood in all possible ways, since he has to do this naked. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Hamar erkeği erkek oluyor

Hamar boy becomes a man / Hamar erkeği erkek oluyor

9. In the Surma tribe, located in southern Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia, the young men who want to get married draw tribal patterns on their body with chalk and fight the other men in the tribe. Through the ongoing fights in which only a long stick is used as a weapon, men hope to attract some attention and find a suitable wife. Injuries are quite common, there are also occasional deaths. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Surma delikanlısı

Surma youth / Surma delikanlısı

10. The last strange tradition is from Mauritania. The natives of this country somehow associate being rich with being fat. But it’s not the fatness of the man, it’s his wife’s. For that reason, mothers take their 5-15 year-old daughters to “fat farms“. The fatter a woman is, the richer her husband is. (Source)

African Traditions / Afrika Gelenekleri

Moritanya’da Güzellik

Beauty in Mauritania / Moritanya’da Güzellik

That’s the end of our fantastic African traditions. Although it is quite an acceptable way of living to preserve the local culture and traditions, I find it still beautiful that most of us don’t have to run on cattle in order to get married. For our readers who haven’t had enough yet, our “Holland Myths” article is highly reccommended!

Summary
10 Strange African Traditions / Yaşayan En Enteresan 10 Afrika Geleneği
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10 Strange African Traditions / Yaşayan En Enteresan 10 Afrika Geleneği
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10 Strange African Traditions / Yaşayan En Enteresan 10 Afrika Geleneği
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