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Afar Tribe of Ethiopia

The Afar (Afar  Qafár ), (Danakil) Afar, those who live in Ethiopia the desert inhabit one of the most rugged regions in the world, known as the Afar Plain or the Danakil Desert. They prefer to be known as the Afar, since the Arabic word "danakil" is an offensive term to them.  One area, called the Danakil Depression, consists of a vast plain of salt pans and active volcanoes. Much of it lies 200 feet below sea level and has daily temperatures as high as 125 degrees F. The average yearly rainfall is less than seven inches.  Most of the Afar are nomads who herd sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. A man's wealth is measured by the size of his herds.  Not all of the Afar is herdsmen. Many of those who work in the Danakil Depression pry loose slabs of solid salt during the dry season, supplying ready-to-use salt in the form of crude blocks. Some of them live in apartment buildings in the country's capitol city, Addis Ababa. Although Muslims are permitted to have four wives, Afar marriages are usually monogamous. Girls may marry as early as age ten. Marriages between first cousins are preferred, particularly between a man and his father's sister's daughter. The night of the full moon is favored for a wedding ceremony, and the presence of someone able to read the Koran is required.

Meat and milk are the major components of the Afar diet. Milk is also an important social "offering." For instance, when a guest is given fresh warm milk to drink, the host is implying that he will provide immediate protection for the guest.