Full Length Research Paper
This cultural study was conducted in Raya community of Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, focusing on the relevance of friendship for social relationships. Specifically, the study aimed at identifying the forms of friendship acquisition, describing friendship application procedures and rituals performed and depicting the social function of friendship as a web to strengthen social networks. The study was limited to the friendship of males. To meet these objectives, fieldwork and interviews were used to gather the primary data. The research design was descriptive, while the study approach was qualitative. The author found that there are two friendship acquisition forms in the study community; inherited and acquired. In the community under study, there are three friendship entitlement occasions that is friendship during an early age, friendship at social events, and friendship formed through daily routine practices. In the procedure of applying friendship, there are cultural rituals performed. Furthermore, there are local names with cultural connotations that intimates use to address each other. The social relevance of friendship has appeared as a base for the creation of fictive affinity which ensures decent social relations. Similar ethnographic studies that would contribute to the critical reading of anthropology of friendship are suggested.
Key words: Cultural study, friendship, social relations, Raya, Ethiopia.
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