This june Bodi tribe, like every year, celebrates the new year: the Kael. This is really a magical and amazing experience in the South of Omo Valley.
“Becoming a fat man is the dream of every Bodi kid”, says the photographer Eric Lafforgue.
The Bodi (or Meen) tribe lives close to the Omo River in southern Ethiopia (Omo Valley) and has the Mursi tribe as south neighbor and Konso at north. It is a pastoral and agricultural tribe, thus livestock plays a large role in the tribe. Along the banks of the river, they cultivate sorghum, maize and coffee.
Their remarkable ritual, called the ‘Kael’
For their new year between June and July, depending on the full moon and the rains, the Bodi celebrate their new year called Kael.
Bodi men consume large amounts of blood and milk to become overweight. This tradition measures the body fat of a contestant. Each family or clan is allowed to present an unmarried contestant. The winner of this contest is awarded great fame by the tribe. The women in the tribe wear goatskin skirts and have a plug inserted into their chin.
After the dance, the bodies of the contestants are measured by the elders. The fattest person is then declared as the winner of the competition and is honored with great fame.