Bright Side

What the Life of the Fulani, People Who Consider Themselves the Most Beautiful on Earth, Is All About

Just imagine a huge bright red sun setting behind the horizon. It’s quite hot and you’re getting ready to sleep after a long walk across the desert area. There’s a feeling of tiredness in your muscles but you smile, because tomorrow, the most beautiful men on Earth are going to dance for you, and only you, for the entire day. That’s how the Fulani, or the Fulbe, the most numerous nomadic people on the planet live. And the representatives of one of their subgroups consider themselves to be the most beautiful people in the world.

We at Bright Side first heard about the Fulani on Arina Shumakova’s Instagram page and on her channel on Yandex Zen. With the permission of the author, we’re going to share some of her hypnotic shots. We’ll also tell you how people with lives totally different from ours live.

  • One of the Fulani’s subgroups, the Wodaabe, has an annual festival known as Guérewol. It’s so bright and unusual that tourists from all over the world come to see it. In fact, Guérewol is a men’s beauty contest. Young people put on colorful clothes and carefully select jewelry for them. A beautiful feather on the head is the final touch.
  • During the festival, young people dance and sing to impress the girls. Those who meet the local standards of beauty (meaning they’re tall with white teeth and eyes) have a better chance of winning attention. That’s why men have to frequently roll their eyes and show their teeth.
  • Endurance and stamina matter as well, which is why the men have to dance in the heat for hours to get the attention of the beauties.
  • It’s thanks to the Guérewol festival that the Fulani consider themselves to be the most beautiful people on Earth. The Wodaabe believe in the transmigration of souls and worship beauty. Before the Guérewol, men spend long hours preparing for the celebration and try to make everything perfect. That’s why the Wodaabe became known as the most conceited tribe on the planet.
  • The Fulani don’t have a generally accepted standard when it comes to traditional garb. Their style of clothing depends on the region they come from. For example, the Wodaabe, who live in Niger and Cameroon, wear very colorful and eye-catching long flowing embroidered or embellished robes.
  • Cattle breeding is the main occupation of the nomadic Fulani. It’s men who usually take care of herds and work in the fields. Women are responsible for taking care of the household.
  • Cattle are extremely important. For example, during a wedding ceremony, the bride’s father hands over one of his herds to the groom as a sign of legalization of the marriage. After that, another ceremony called “Kabbal” might take place where neither the groom nor the bride is to be present.
  • There are even marriages that happen in family agreements that get made before the newlyweds are even born. The babies are announced promised to each other, but in fact, they get married only when they reach puberty.
  • A man is allowed to have 4 wives. A family usually consists of a man, his wives, and their children. They get along with each other quite well. In the photo below, you can see wives and kids of one man. It’s a rich family because they have several thousands of cows and their wealth equals almost $0.5 million.
  • In the Wodaabe subgroup, every bride brings cattle to her husband’s family. The more, the better. Not only is this cattle her dowry but it’s also a guarantee that the woman will survive if any issues appear in the marriage and she decides to leave her husband. In fact, animals serve as leverage because they give milk or can be sold and exchanged for something else.
  • The Fulani believe that each marriage should produce many kids. They basically marry young and have no birth control.
  • In the Wodaabe culture, parents are not allowed to directly speak to their 2 firstborn children, who are often taken care of by their grandparents. In daylight, a husband and wife cannot hold hands or talk to each other about personal matters.
  • It’s women who should take care of the kids. As a rule, fathers don’t do it. When girls grow up, they start to help their mothers look after their little sisters and brothers. One of the wide-spread games among little girls is carrying dolls on their backs. Once the girl becomes a bit older, the doll gets replaced by her little sibling.
  • They treat little kids quite delicately, which is why they’re rarely obedient. Adults try to protect babies from any emotional issues. It’s also women who play the role of teacher. It’s believed that they’re more patient than men and are always eager to understand and show compassion.
  • From an early age, girls are taught to be beautiful. At the age of 2 to 3, little girls already have pierced ears. Usually, they get 6 holes in the right ear and 6 in the left. Almost immediately after a girl learns to walk well, she’s placed in the middle of a circle of dancing women who begin to teach her how to dance, constantly praising her efforts.

  • The transition to adult life happens smoothly. At approximately the age of 5, girls are taught the rules of their moral code. They’re told that a woman can’t look directly at her groom’s face, she must show respect for the elderly, and she shouldn’t say a word about her future husband’s parents.

Are you interested in how the lives of people from the most remote corners of the world look? If yes, which nations would you like to learn about the most?

Preview photo credit arina_travels / Instagram
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