The Hamar tribe are people located in Ethiopia in the Eastern part of Africa.
At the heart of the Hamar tribe’s cultural tapestry lies a unique marriage ritual that has garnered both curiosity and concern. As part of their age-old customs, women within the tribe undergo a ritualistic flogging known as “ukuli.” This practice is conducted as a rite of passage, symbolizing a woman’s transition into marriage. While on the surface, this practice may appear startling to outsiders, it holds a significant place within the Hamar’s intricate web of cultural norms and beliefs.
During the ukuli ceremony, women voluntarily subject themselves to a series of lashings from male family members. These lashings, delivered using a whip made from the fibrous material of a plant, leave marks on the women’s backs. Far from being an act of brutality, the ritual is seen as a demonstration of commitment and devotion. The scars that remain afterward are not seen as scars of pain rather they serve as badges of honor, signifying a woman’s enduring strength and resilience in embracing her marital journey.
The flogging ceremony signifies a woman’s dedication to her future husband and her willingness to embrace the challenges and responsibilities that come with marriage.
The women are expected to endure the pain and show their loyalty and submission to the men, while the men do not need to explain or justify their actions.
The cultural significance of the flogging ritual is a testament to the significant value marriage holds among the Hamar people. Marriage is not merely a union of two individuals but a fusion of families and communities.
Women in the Hamar tribe are subject to beatings even after the ceremony at any time the man pleases unless they give birth to at least two children.
As part of the rules, men do not need to explain why they are beating the women as they can do so as and when they feel is right.