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The Wayuu (also called Guajiros) is a nomadic matriarchal society, living mainly in northern Colombia in the Guajira peninsula. Since women have a high status here, they are the ones who get to chose their potential mates and it all goes through the magic of a fertility dance: the Chichimaya.

When girls become teenagers, they are hidden away from boys, sometimes for months, until they are mature enough (which means they are deemed to be ready for marriage). They will be taken care of by their maternal aunts, instructed in the art of crafts and maintaining a household. Ultimately leaving their childhood behind, they will get a new name and be able to join the Chichimaya. Boys will dance in a circle around the girls, teasing them and making gestures to invite a chase. If a girl sees a boy that she likes, she will go after him and try to make him fall to the ground. If she can trip him, there’s a good chance that they will get married. Talk about getting laid!

If a marriage is concluded, the boy’s family will pay a dowry in goats to the in-laws-to-be. If the woman takes a lover, the goats have to be returned to the husband’s’ family. If the husband is messing around, his family has to provide more goats to his wife’s parents. Seems fair! 

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