1The Hamar are a semi nomadic tribe with a total number of about 15,000 and like the Borena, they are pastoralists. Although they are known for their skills of pottery, beekeeping, and smithing, their herds especially their cattle are the focus of their culture and of their socioeconomic life. Even their vocabulary reflects this concern. There are at least 27 words for the subtle variations of colour and texture of cattle, and every Hamar has several names, including a Goat name.
These are a superstitious people who believe that evil and bad luck (mingi) exists in certain unholy or impure things. Twins, a child born out of wed lock, and children, whose upper milk teeth come before their lower cones, are considered to possess mingi and for this reason, they are thrown into the forest to die.
The Hamar have evolved an elaborate age-grade system characterized by periodic “rites of passage” which celebrate transition from one age grade to the next. Hairstyle is important here. By far the most significant ceremony is known as the “jumping of the Bull”. For the novices passing from boyhood into early adulthood.