With so many different ethnic groups, Africa has some of the most unusual and fascinating tribal traditions. Africa is noted for its diverse culture, heritage, and devotion to traditional customs. Some African tribal rituals are enigmatic, and they captivate people both inside and beyond Africa. Some of these bizarre practices have survived civilization for many years, and many have continued for decades. These traditions will astound you and are only a small part of what makes African people unique.
1) The Maasai's spitting
Members of the Maasai tribe in Kenya and Tanzania follow a strange tradition known as "spitting blessings." Spitting is a type of blessing and a gesture of respect among the Maasai people of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Spitting is used by tribespeople to meet or say goodbye to friends, seal a deal, or wish someone good luck. Before shaking hands, the two pals will spit into each other's palms. When a baby is born, family members will spit on him or her to wish them good luck and a long life. Spitting on a daughter's wedding day is also usual, with her father spitting on her forehead to wish her a happy marriage.
2) The Mursi's lip plates
Women in Ethiopia's Mursi tribe wear wooden plates on their lower lips, making them one of the last tribes in Africa to do so. When a Mursi girl reaches the age of 15, her mother cuts her bottom lip. A wooden plug keeps the cut open for three months while it heals. Girls are never forced to get their lips pierced; it is a completely personal option for Mursi members. Just like any other pottery or jewelry, the lip plates are used to enhance beauty in the tribe. For male tribe members, lip plates are more desirable.
3) The Hamar's bull jumping
The Hamar tribe in Ethiopia has a rather athletic initiation ritual. The tribe is made up mostly of pastoralists who respect and treasure their cattle. This custom is entirely about the art of bull jumping. The custom is a three-day rite of passage that all boys must complete, and it is crucial to the initiate's and his family's honor. The initiate must walk over 15 castrated bulls who have had their backs rubbed in manure to make them slick. If he fails, he will have to wait a year before attempting it again. If he succeeds, it indicates that he is ready to marry a girl chosen by his parents and raise his own children and animals.
4) Beating the Suitor, a Sharo Tradition
The Fulani tribe, particularly those in West Africa, follows the Sharo tradition. When two young men seek to marry the same woman, they beat each other up in order to compete for her hand in marriage. During their combat, the men must suppress any signs of suffering. The man who takes the beating without exhibiting symptoms of agony is the winner, and his prize is the woman as his wife. In the event of no competition between two young men over a girl, the groom is beaten by the community's elders in order to gain a wife and respect. The wedding is called off if the groom is not strong enough to bear the grief.
5) The Guerewol Ritual: Wodaabe Courtship Dance
In this annual ritual, young men dress up in extravagant makeup and costumes and dance to dazzle the women. The goal is to catch one of interests of a marriageable young woman. The male beauty ideal in this tribe is all about bright eyes and teeth, so men will frequently roll their eyes and display their teeth to flaunt their sex appeal.
6) Potency test
Marriage is a huge responsibility for the bride's aunt in the Banyankole tribe of Uganda. When a couple decides to marry, the aunt must have sex with the groom as a potency test. The aunt is also responsible for testing the bride's virginity.
7) Festival of the Dead
The Chewa people are a Bantu tribe who live primarily in Malawi. It is usual to wash the body of the deceased during a tribe member's burial ceremony. The body is carried to a sacred location where the dead are cleansed by pouring water through their bodies. The water is sucked out of the body until it is completely dry. After that, the water is collected and used to cook a dinner for the entire community.
8) The San's Healing Dance
This is undoubtedly the most mystical of all the tribal traditions. Dance is regarded as sacred by the San people of Namibia, Botswana, and Angola. The trance dance is one of their most important tribal traditions. The entire community gathers around a fire, guided by healers and elders, for several hours, or possibly an entire night. The healers chant songs around the fire until they achieve a profound trance-like state. They gain access to the spirit world. When in this state, they are able to walk over fire. The San healers are not only attempting to cure physical illnesses in their community; they are also attempting to expel evil forces that cause jealousy, rage, and conflicts.
9) The Himba's red ochre
The women and girls of Himba, a Namibian tribe, apply Ojtize to their skin and hair to have a red complexion. Otjize is a butter, lard, and red ochre paste created at home and used by the tribe's girls as soon as they are mature enough to take care of their personal hygiene. The Himba women claim the red paste is for aesthetic purposes; it's essentially traditional make-up that they apply every morning in the same way other people apply mascara and lipstick.
10) Khweta Ceremonies
Khweta is a Xhosa masculinity initiation ceremony practiced in South Africa's Eastern Cape. A young kid leaves his family home to demonstrate his manhood in this rite. When the males reach puberty, they are sent to a lodge for several days or weeks throughout the winter, where they are subjected to painful rituals such as non-medical circumcision and continuous dancing till exhaustion. The youngsters must bear the pain because any expression of pain would be considered dishonorable.
African traditions are fascinating and interesting, and some are totally strange and will shock many people. These different traditions are what make Africa a unique continent. It remains to be seen if these ethnic groups will continue with their traditions since a lot is happening around the world.