Ethiopia has great significance in the history of Africa and the world. This country has excellent cultural and ancestral diversity. The tribes here have fascinating characters, including feminine attire, roles in the community, and a host of customs. This country has a rich culture with tribes immersed in a symbolic world. Anything here has an attachment to the cultural realm. Here are Ethiopian tribes whose lives and traditions will fascinate you.

Hamer tribe

The largest in most Ethiopian villages, the Hamer are an ethnic group living in the southern part of the country. These live on the eastern part of the Omo River, bordering Kenya. The Hamer live on subsistence agriculture and pastoralism. These people have started to embrace markets for economic, cultural, and social wealth. The markets are now the life centers of these people, with everyone meeting to barter or sell products, including:
  1. Coffee
  2. Fabrics
  3. Spices
  4. Tools 
  5. Vegetables
  6. Tobacco
  7. pumpkins
Women of this tribe wear braided hair adorned in ocher mud and other hairstyles adorned with feathers. The clothing of the Hamer people usually includes huge necklaces with seashell stripes. Married women wear ornaments, distinguishing them from single ones. 

Surma tribe

With an ongoing program to discover more about Ethiopia at the Africa Institute in Sharjah, here is more about its fascinating tribes. The Surma people are a semi-nomadic community known for being warriors. These live in the southwestern rainforests in huts built using branches. The Surma people make scarifications with men showing struggle and strength while women do it for aesthetics. 

This tribe has people who embed clay plates in their ears and lips for beauty. The dishes can be up to 40 cm in diameter, and a larger one is preferred to portray more beauty. Women believe this to be a body ornament for their ears and lips to get dilated. At the time of marriage, a lady with a larger dish deserves more bride price. Her family is entitled to more heads of cattle.

Mursi tribe

This is another warrior tribe from Ethiopia. The Mursi are warriors with aggressive spirits who live in the Omo Valley. These maintain various ancestral traditions, including Dunga. This is a festive battle between young warriors, with the victor getting a chance to select a wife and win the respect of opponents. Mursi women wear wooden or clay plates in the ears and lips with unique hairstyles, including metal rings and various fabrics, characterized by ornaments.

Mursi men wear spectacular white chalk paintings drawn all over their bodies. Men and women traditionally decorate their bodies using natural pigments extracted from vegetables and minerals. These work as insect repellents when mixed with cattle urine and ash. The scarifications in this tribe are usually on the chest, arms, and back for elegance, courage, and strength. 

Dassanech tribe

This tribe has eight clans with a lineage according to ancestors. The clans have a patriarchal structure, each with a group of elders with authority. Dassanech women don’t cover their upper body and wear a brightly colored fabric or foulard curling at the waist without shoes. The ladies wear peculiar ornaments with tiny perforations below the lower lip decorated with colorful detail, including feathers. People here usually carry items on their heads, including zippers, bullet caps, badges, and other equipment that is challenging to find. It makes these items cherished for value and aesthetics. 

This tribe likes compliments, including for the neck with bright-colored necklaces. Popular colors include red, orange, and yellow to portray the sun and match the land's warm climate. These same colors are also for anklets and bracelets. Young people of both sexes from this tribe have to undergo circumcision. However, there are increasing voices against the sexual mutilation of girls. 

Other fascinating things to know about Ethiopia include

Rastafarian movement

Ethiopia is the birthplace of the Rastafarian movement, although its prominence in Jamaica makes some people believe it originated there. Jamaica has 700,000 of the estimated 1 million Rastafarians in the world. However, the other population is scattered across different countries, including Ethiopia. The movement gained prominence during Emperor Haile Selassie’s fight to prevent Italian colonialism in Ethiopia. 

Ethiopians are vegetarians

Just like the Rastafarians, most Ethiopians are vegetarians. Cooking here is very healthy and tasty, with diverse cuisine. Ethiopians follow a strand of orthodox Christianity prohibiting eating animal meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. Fortunately, restaurants have delicious vegan stews on the menu. There are always options for vegans to enjoy a tasty meal. 

Bottom line 

Ethiopia is one of the most fascinating countries in Africa. This place has a rich history on the continent and across the world. The tribes here have diverse cultures and traditions that fascinate everyone. These include the tradition of women dilating their lips and ears for beauty and the scarification across the body.