For many people, it’s baffling to drink cow’s ЬʟᴏᴏԀ, but not for the Suri people of Eтһɪᴏρɪɑ. Inhabiting the southwestern part of the country, the Suri or Surma do not usually eat cattle — their most prized possessions — but do sacrifice them during ceremonies such as funerals. Cattle among the Suri equals wealth, and their milk and ЬʟᴏᴏԀ are “important food sources,” though Suri women are not allowed to drink cow’s ЬʟᴏᴏԀ.
Only men can drink cow ЬʟᴏᴏԀ
For warriors of this ethnic group, drinking cow’s ЬʟᴏᴏԀ gives them strength ahead of battles including the Donga. The Donga battle, otherwise known as the stick fighting festival, takes place after the annual harvest. Warriors from opposing villages engage in this stick fight to show off their strength and masculinity to attract the attention of women watching the fight.
Why did they choose cow ЬʟᴏᴏԀ to drink?
All in all, what these warriors do not forget to do is to drink the ЬʟᴏᴏԀ of cattle to prepare for the violence expected of battles. According to a report, Suri warriors believe cow’s ЬʟᴏᴏԀ is full of vitamins which will “keep them fit” and help them get stronger. Before the stick fights, for example, a small incision is made in a cow’s carotid artery with a sharp arrow to make it bleed almost two liters of ЬʟᴏᴏԀ.
The Battle of Donga Begins
Ahead of battles, warriors cross a river to wash themselves before decorating their boԀɪᴇs in clay to attract potential partners. Around 20 to 30 men from nearby villages with their massive sticks would then gather on each side for the stick fights. They would dance and sing before selecting the warriors who would be engaging in the fights.
Donga fights do get savagely violent; some warriors Ԁɪᴇ even though it is forbidden to ᴋɪʟʟ a rival. Others lose limbs and eyes. Relatives of warriors who are ᴋɪʟʟed are usually compensated with a woman or 20 cows while those who get injured are not given compensation at all, a report notes. Still, Suri men go all out for the Donga as winners are hailed as heroes and can reportedly choose any local woman as a wife. Some warriors even fight completely naked to show their bravery in front of women.
The fights are usually refereed and sometimes even staged for tourists. Young women do wear necklaces around the neck that they give to the winners in hopes that they would be chosen.
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