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Fulani culture: What is Sharo festival?

Enduring the flogging to demonstrate their manhood and to marry four girls at once. What is that? Read the article to learn more about mystery tradition of Fulani culture. 

fulani tribe tradition

Fulani culture is the brightest Nigerian heritage that even so many centuries ago is still alive. Twice a year a tradition of passage from a boy to a man is brought back to life at Sharo festival. 

What is Sharo festival?

The Sharo (also called Shadi) Festival is celebrated among the Jafun Fulani. Referred to as the Flogging Competition, it is a traditional rite for young men. The Sharo cultural festival demonstrates the test of endurance and bravery in a very dramatic way. It’s quite an opened event, so usually it takes place at some big squares or market places. 

The festival lasts a week, and every willing can take a look at this impressive tradition of Fulani people. A lot of researchers, journalists, and tourists visit Nigeria, in particular for the Sharo festival. Often they call it a mix of ancient traditions and Islamic dawns. 

the sharo festival fulani

READ ALSO: Who are Fulani herdsmen?

What do they do during the Sharo festival?

First of all, it’s a celebration of manhood and bravery. The participants, the young men, have to demonstrate that they are ready to become the men. They are not allowed to wear shirts or cover the upper part of their bodies. With an accompaniment of singing, drumming and cheers of the crowd they come to a central square of a town in the company of beautiful girls. 

In Fulani language “Sharo” means flogging so idea of the whole festival lies in… flogging! Each young man, who participate have to endure flogging ceremony at the center of the special ring. He’s flogged by other participants who yet to be flogged. In Fulani culture enduring is a sign of the original man who is capable of protecting his home, feeding his family and holding his honor. 

fulani traditions

But not all the participants are ready to bear the ceremony as the flogging, not just an official part; it’s really hard and painful. It leaves permanent scars on their bodies, which they carry until the end of their lives. 

The prize for those who come through a challenge with a flogging is a right to marry any girl they choose. They can even choose up to four wives if he can prove his ability to aliment all of them.  Besides, the winners are officially certified as mature by Fulani tribe leader. Those who haven’t endured can try their luck again at the next festival. 

The flogging ceremony is the main, but not the only one event of the Sharo festival. It also includes a lot of dancing and different performances that demonstrate a richness of Fulani culture. 

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