Ethiopia is likely to be held on the continent of Africa, known as the Dark Continent. There are about 86 different tribes living in Ethiopia with an area of about 1.1 million square kilometres. While the population of some of these tribes is very high, some of these tribes are gradually becoming extinct. The Oromo ethnic group is 34.6% and the Amhara ethnic group is 27.1%.
More than 60% of the country’s total tribal population belongs to these two tribes and many endangered tribes are found in the country. The Bodi tribe is a similarly endangered tribe. According to the 2007 census, the number of Bodi tribes found in the country was as low as 6,994. It is as low as 0.01% of the country’s total tribal population. These tribes, which are on the verge of extinction, follow strange customs.
People trying to gain weight
The people of this tribe consider the belly as a gift from God. Therefore, women of the Bodhi tribe are more attracted to obese men. Men of this tribe consume high-calorie foods to enlarge their bodies because they consider obesity even when choosing the leader of the body tribe. The dream of every Bodi tribal woman is to marry a man who is well-proportioned. It is the dream of every Bodi tribe to marry the most beautiful girl among them.
Tribal Leader- Komoro
The traditional chief of the Bodi tribe is called Komoro. The leader of the tribe, or Komoro, represents the entire tribal community. Provide solutions to their problems. Therefore, the tribal people are accustomed to treating Komoros as deities. The tribal leader wears a pearl necklace, so he can be identified at a glance.
When the leader of the tribe dies, the leader is his eldest son. If the deceased Komoro does not have sons, the old men of the tribe will come together and elect a new leader. Before that, a cow is slaughtered and its blood is collected in a large bowl. The pearl necklace worn by the deceased Komoro is then placed in a bowl containing the blood of a cow.
A few days later, when the new leader of the tribe was appointed, a pearl necklace embedded in a cow’s blood vessel was placed around his neck. They perform the same strange ritual to bless the leader with the blood of cows. These tribes consider the cow to be a powerful animal. Therefore, there is a belief among them that when the cow is blessed with blood, the leader gets strength. The leader thus appointed becomes the head of the Bodi tribal community as well as the spiritual leader.
Obese tribal man selection competition
The Bodi tribesmen celebrate the Kael Festival in June every year. On that festive day, which marks the beginning of the New Year, the fattest tribal man is chosen. Only unmarried people can participate in the competition. It is mandatory to have an unmarried person from each family in the competition. The young men who compete in that way must meet the leader of the tribe of Komoro. The match will then officially begin after the Komoro inform them of the rules of the game.
How the game works
All contestants will be housed in separate booths at one location. They will not be allowed to leave the venue during the match. Competitors must be covered with mud and ashes during their stay in those huts. Every morning one woman from the families of the contestants must come to see them. When they arrived, they had to bring cow’s milk and cow’s blood in containers made of bamboo.
Competitors should consume only cow’s blood and cow’s milk during the competition. Cattle herding is the main livelihood of the Bodi tribes, and they have enough cattle. These tribes also use a strange trick to get blood from the cow. At that time, the required amount of blood is injected into the vein of the cow. The blood sample is then covered with a specially prepared soil mixture.
Although the Bodi slaughtered cattle for sacrifice, the cow was still considered a sacred animal. It is for this reason that cattle are not slaughtered for blood during this race. No competitor will have the opportunity to violate the rules of the game during the competition period. It is overseen by the older men of the tribe. If a competitor suddenly breaks the rules of the game, Komoro punishes him severely.
Selection of the winner
Komoro decides the date of the Kael Festival. On that day, the Bodi tribesmen dressed in traditional attire. They also prepare their own drinks and beverages on that day. On the day of the festival, everyone is focused on the competition to choose the fattest man. Just before the start of the Kael Festival, Comoros go to the contestants’ detention centre and allow them to be brought to the stadium. After that, all the competitors who come to the field will come forward and stand in a row. At that point, Komoro picks the winner. After selecting the winner, the leader of the tribe officially announces it.
Privileges for the winner
The winner of the competition to choose the fattest person is very popular in the tribe. He is also the hero of the handsome young men of the tribe that day. According to the rules of the competition, the winner has the opportunity to marry any girl of his choice. There, every tribal girl dreams of marrying their hero. They consider it a great honour to marry the fattest man in the tribe.
On that day, the winner chooses the girl of his choice and informs Komoro. Their wedding will take a place on the same day. At the time of a marriage, the groom’s family must provide more than 10 dairy cows to the bride’s family. Three cows should be given from the bride’s family to the groom’s family. After the wedding, Komoro blesses the newlyweds. At the same time, the Kael Festival is coming to an end.
Cover photo - Bodi tribal men competing - joeyl.com