Why Young Girls in South Sudan's Larim Tribe Are Given Scars Before Marriage

A girl in the Larim tribe typically feels that she is ready for marriage at the age of ten. Even though she isn't immediately whisked to her husband's house, she begins to get ready by adorning her body with different scars or drawings. Her body usually has drawings of cows, animals, abstract and geometric shapes on her body.

Why are they given scars before marriage?

Compared to other tribes, Larim women use scarification to make themselves more beautiful and not necessarily as a mark to the gods or for protection.

The young women who are "ready to be married, wonderfully beautify themselves with these scars and wear chains that extend from beaded piercings in their ears to ones in their noses. It's almost like a mating ritual, that makes eligible men know they are available.

The tribe is generally an artistic one, as there are drawings everywhere. Their spoons and plates are pyrotechnically painted. Their beads are beautifully embellished, and their houses have detailed decorations.

The process of scarification is painful. Spherical wounds are created by lifting parts of the skin with a hook or thorn before slicing it across with a blade. Various effects can be achieved by applying ink to the incision, packing it with clay, ash and other substances or forcing the cut to remain open to produce a permanent gouged scar.