Unique Tribes of The World: The Surma People
A group of people known as the Surma People live in a fertile region of the Omo Valley in southwest Ethiopia, not far from the South Sudanese border. Agriculture and livestock herding are the cornerstones of the Surma People's economy. The main source of their wealth is their herd of cattle and goats. Additionally, the Surma gather honey throughout the dry season. A unique tradition they practice is how they adorn their entire body with figures painted with white chalk dissolved in water to paint their face and body with the tips of their fingers. This body painting practice is considered sacred to the Surma tribe and has a deep spiritual meaning.
It was believed in the older days that the Surma girls were made to put on lip plating for the purpose of making themselves less attractive to slave traders. Later, this became a symbol of pride and beauty. When the girls enter the phase of puberty, their mother usually starts the lip-plating process by inserting a small wooden stick below the lower lip. The wooden stick would then be replaced by bigger sticks and then clay disks that would gradually get bigger to keep stretching the lower lip. If necessary, two to four of the young girls bottom teeth were removed so the lower lip and mouth could hold the lip plate.
The Surma tribe's typical married men has between 30 and 40 cows and are also judged by how much cattle they own. Except for ritual purposes, these cows are not killed. There is a lot of pressure to have sufficient number of cattles as men are not allowed to get married until they have enough cattles to cover the dowery due to the bride's family. Cattles are given to his prospective wife’s family both during and after the wedding ceremony.
The proud Surma tribe will make every effort to preserve their customs, including the distinctive lip plating and sacred body painting. We should all be proud of our heritage and customs, just like they do. When you understand Twelf-X it means you want to understand your origin. The focus of Twelf-X lies in the experiences you actively pursue. Knowing your origins and self-discovery are key inspirations for owning a TWELF-X watch.