Marks of Warrior
Marks of Warrior
Traditional practices of the Dinka culture are fascinating. Scarification is one of those practices. Scaring is done for cosmetic reasons for some, but for a Dinka Agar boy it is part of the initiation to manhood. On each boy’s forehead will be cut 6 horizontal lines that mark him for life as an Agar Dinka warrior, a parapuol. A celebration of singing and dancing for several days precedes the scaring ceremony. This is usually done just before the harvest of Durra (sorghum). An initiator performs the procedure with several early adolescent boys at one time. The boys sit cross-legged on the ground in a line. Parents and relatives watch as each boy digs a hole in the dirt in front of themselves to catch the blood. The initiator holds the first boy’s head steady with his left hand and holds a knife in his right hand. As the boy stares straight ahead, the initiator turns the boy’s head, cutting a straight line from above one ear to above the other ear in a single motion. In a loud voice the boy calls out the names of his ancestors. Five more parallel lines are cut. Then the initiator moves on to the other boys. No emotion is acceptable, as the six lines on his forehead declares him a warrior. He must be seen as brave. Any crying would bring dishonor on his family. A flinch could cause a crooked scar, which would mark him as coward forever. After the procedure the boys father wipes the blood from his face with a durra leaf. Then the boy’s head is bound with a durra leaf, which is left in place for a month. This marks the end of childhood for the boy.
Living Water Community Transformation has introduced a different mark of a warrior, a warrior for Christ. “When you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation… having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” Ephesians 1:13-14. The warrior marks we look for are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22-23.
Nhialic abi thiei (God Bless You),
Mama Ayen (Ann Rao)