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The survival of the fittest and no pain, no gain are the order of the day in The Sharo Festival celebrated by the Fulani ethnic group predominantly situated in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is a tradition that has been in existence for ages and it usually holds twice in a year.
The headline event of the Festival is got from the name of the festival "Sharo". Sharo means "flog" in Fulani. Simply put, the Sharo Festival is a tradition that gives two suitors a fair chance to prove themselves fit and strong enough to win a woman for marriage by publicly flogging each other.
The festival is a test of manhood where two suitors will flog each other and the one who shows signs of pain or weep or run away from the marked area will be deemed unfit, weak and a coward. Is a coward fit to marry a woman? A referee presides over the competition between the two suitors to ensure that their is transparency and the moment he spot the weak man, he put an end to the competition.
The two suitors are expected to be smiling, dancing and showing gestures to the opponent to bring it on when they are being flogged. It's an happy moment for them. You don't want to be seen as a weak man in the presence of all the beautiful maidens in the village. Do you?
The Islamic law permits a man to marry more than one woman. Therefore, when a man comes out as a winner in the first round, he will be allowed to pick any woman of his choice and he can continue with the competition with another challenger to earn the right to marry another woman. In short, he can marry as many wives as he wants as far as he can withstand more pain.
As strange and awkward as it may feel to people who are not familiarized with the customs and tradition of the Fulani people, the festival is highly cherished by these people. The family members of the competitors watch with keen interest, hailing and singing motivational songs to encourage their brother/son to win because it may be a disgrace to their family if they lose.
However, this tradition is not welcomed by many people. They see it as ferocious, nefarious and barbaric. The reason is quite obvious. The tradition could be likened to torturing because the competitors are always left with scars on their body and it could even lead to death.
Thank you for your time lovelies.
The post is originally written by me 💕@debbie-ese💕