The Fulani people are a nomadic pastoral (farming) people with ties across various parts of Africa including: Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, ect ... for a total of 16 African nations. Due to their wide-spread nomadic nature, their cultural influence spans not only across several countries, but has resulted in the creation of various subsets of the larger Fulani tribe, including the Wodaabe.
Due to extensive traveling, there is no standard ethnic "look" for this tribe. Rather, physical attributes vary across nations and tribal sub-groups. These subtle differences also extend to languages spoken (which include French, Arabic, Woolof, Fula, etc), as well as style of dress. Yet, for all of the differences, the foundation of this tribe remains the same. Traditional marriage and beauty practices are virtually unchanged.
Take for example the practice of the Yaake Dance. Where as in western society, beauty and makeup are seen as a strictly feminine, in this community, as seen in the Karo Tribe, men of the Fulani accentuate their beauty in full celebration. Lips smiling with inviting exaggerated smiles ... dressed in elaborate garments ... faces painted in colorful patterns ... they compete not only for the attention of young maidens, but also as the tribal man having the most attractiveness that particular year.
In addition to the Yaake dance practice, both men and women adorn themselves with customary beading and jewelry, particularly for wedding ceremonies. In the case of women, they are nearly always gifted gold earrings called "kwottenai kanye." These earrings are given at either the passing of a woman's mother or more commonly as a bridal present. Paid for through the sale of a family's cattle, these earrings are often made of 14k gold and are seen as a prized status symbol within the tribe for those able to afford these beautiful works of art.
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