This post courtesy BBC Earth. For more wildlife news, find BBC Earth on Facebook and Posterous.
Status symbols appear in different forms all over the world. From a crown, to a scar, to a family name: each visible denotation can be attributed to a significant event or an accomplishment, and especially when it comes to marriage.
However as symbols change over time, or differ as a response to the cultural environment. One thing remains the same, and it is mankind’s want to remain conscious of and give example to its unique cultural values. For the Suri people of Southwest Ethiopia, it is the fierce competition for land and highly prized cattle that determines many of its traditions, and consequently, its status symbols.
Even in an unstable region such as the grasslands, these self-sufficient people have found a power and confidence in their own culture that has meant many ancient traditions have stayed at the forefront of their lives today. However as times change and individuals roles develop, sensitive changes are beginning to take place. For the Suri, each household is run by the female. She controls the sale of beer and grain, and it is only in her marriage that a family’s most important symbol of status—cattle—can be obtained.
However the ingrained process by which marriage happens, is evolving. In the video below, we are given example of the changing attitudes to a status symbol that although has proved to still be incredibly significant to some… for others, is becoming something of the past.