Celebrate Ka’el ceremony and New year of Bodi tribe from June 8 until June 15
Ka’el ceremony ( the holiday of fat men ) and New year of Bodi tribe, on this year they celebrate from June 8 until June 15 .
Join us to celebrate this great festival.
PHOTOS BY ERIC LAFFORGUE
For more information about Bodi tribe and about ka’el ceremony read down👇
Bodi tribe has a small population compering to the Omo valley tribes and they reside near the Omo river, occupying about 1900 sq.km.They are bordered by the Mursi tribe as well. Both tribes though similar in several cultural patterns, clash from time to time. As a tribe, they are a group of people who are largely dependant on their livestock. They are also core agriculturalist who are involved in the growing of sorghum, maize and coffee, along the banks of Omo river. “Ka’el” which means “the holiday of the fat men”. In their traditional calendar, the year starts in June. And in celebration of the new year, the Ka’el tradition is observed. The ceremony measures the body fat of the male contestant and rewards the winner with no more than fame and adulation of the people (similar ceremony can be also seen in Dinka tribe of South Sudan). Prior to the new year competition, each of the 14 clans of the Bodi tribe is expected to produce a male contestant who is unmarried. For 6 months, these unmarried men take one of the weirdest steps in fattening up. They feed on blood and fresh milk. For the entire period of 6 months, they are not expected to engage in any physical activity. Already, Bodi men are naturally overweight due to their large consumption of honey now this ritual helps to put on the extra weight.
During this time too, they are not allowed to have sexual relations or leave their huts. Every morning the women bring them milk. The first bowl of blood is usually about 1-2 litres. Some may have a hard time finishing it and end up throwing up. Your guess is as good as mine…it’s probably not such a sweet experience.
On the day of the Ka’el ceremony, these fattened men leave their huts for the first time since the competition. With their bodies covered with clay and ashes, they display their physical abilities before the elders of the community who serve as judges.
The fat Bodi men spend hours usually under the sun, running around a sacred tree.To celebrate it, they dance, drink, sing, and the Fat men who have drunk a lot of milk for months make a competition, wearing this strange headdress made of feathers and beads.
The Ethiopian tribe does not slaughter their animals. So, for the festivities, the sacrificial cow is first killed with a sacred stone and then slaughtered. It is their traditional belief that killing the cow in that way helps to preserve the “nourishing” blood which is saved for the ceremony.