Status symbols appear in different forms all over the world. From a crown to a scar to a family name: each visible denotation can be attributed to a significant event or an accomplishment, especially when it comes to marriage.

However, as symbols change over time or differ as a response to the cultural environment, one thing remains the same, and it is mankind’s want to remain conscious of and give example to its unique cultural values.

For the Suri people of Southwest Ethiopia, it is the fierce competition for land and highly prized cattle that determine many of its traditions and consequently its status symbols.

Even in an unstable region such as the grasslands, these self-sufficient people have found a power and confidence in their own culture that has meant many ancient traditions have stayed at the forefront of their lives.

However, as times change and individual's roles develop, sensitive changes are beginning to take place. For the Suri, each household is run by the female. The sale of beer and grain is controlled by her, and it is only in her marriage that a family's most important symbols of status — cattle — can be obtained.

But the ingrained process by which marriage happens is evolving. In the video above, we are given an example of the changing attitudes about a status symbol that is incredibly significant to some, but for others is becoming something of the past.  

This originally appeared on BBC Earth and was reprinted here with permission.

Love symbols of the Suri people
Video: Traditionally, the women of this tribe wear lip plates, but some are realizing they don't want these status symbols.