In the Mursi Tribe, tribeswomen are obliged to cut off their lower lip which is then replaced with a disc made of wood or clay (called lip plate). The reason behind this will move you… Keep reading.
The Mursi tribe belongs to the far southwest part of Ethiopia. According to Wikipedia, as of the 2007 national census, they had a population of 11,500. They live and survive as agro-pastorals and are widely known across the world due to their ‘unusual’ cultural practices.
Early this morning I wrote about the Himba tribe as to why they use ‘Goat’ hair for their dreadlocks. You can check my page to know the reason behind it.
Quickly after that, I googled the most dangerous tribe in Africa and it appeared the Mursi tribe can first on my list.
This moved me to know more about them and why they come up as the “dangerous” tribe. After doing some reading, I came across one cultural festival which seemed ‘weird’ and a ‘wicked’ act for me - that is, the practice of cutting off the lower lip of tribeswomen for some unearthly reasons.
Why the lower lip of tribeswomen gets cut off and replaced with a lip plate?
According to Somak luxury travel, the custom of wearing a lip plate is linked to female fertility and eligibility for marriage. Isn’t that strange?
We are knowing that before marriage is puberty, which is where different cultures define to hide the face of the ready-to-be-married girl from men. In the case of the Mursi tribe, when a girl reaches her puberty stage, her lower lip is then cut off by another female relative and a stick inserted in there.
From time to time, the lip gets stretched by inserting sticks of different sizes each night. This process normally starts with small sticks to big sticks and eventually wearing the lip plate.
The lip plate is worn on several occasions and removed permanently after the woman’s husband passed out. For them, wearing those lip plate warrants large bridewealth and such women who do not wear it are seen to be lazy, coward and stands a lower wealth as a bride.
So wearing a 6-centimetre diameter lip plate just to let guys know you are ready for marriage? I still can’t believe am typing this.
Things need to be changed in Africa, what do you think?
Can you stand this lip plate culture thing if you are a tribeswoman?
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