The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting Northern, Central and Southern Kenya. And in Northern Tanzania Maasai are among the best-known local populations. Internationally due to their residence near many game parks of the African Great Rift Valley, and their distinctive customs and dress.
In the Maasai tradition, a boy’s “age set” is critical. After spending the previous night in dry, scrub brush forest. The boys are given a hero’s welcome with multiple rounds of singing and chanting to boost their morale as they danced thrusting sticks in the air.
There are many ceremonies in Maasai society including Enkipaata which is senior boy ceremony. Emuratta the circumcision, Enkiama is marriage, Eunoto warrior-shaving ceremon. Eokoto e-kule milk-drinking ceremony, Enkang oo-nkiri meat-eating ceremony. Olngesher junior elder ceremony, etc. Also, there are ceremonies for boys and girls minor including, Eudoto/Enkigerunoto oo-inkiyiaa (earlobe), and Ilkipirat (leg fire marks). Traditionally, boys and girls must undergo through these initiations for minors prior to circumcision. However, many of these initiations concern men while women’s initiations focus on circumcision and marriage. Men will form age-sets moving them closer to adulthood.
Women do not have their own age-set but are recognized by that of their husbands. Ceremonies are an expression of Maasai culture and self-determination. Every ceremony is a new life. They are rites of passage, and every Maasai child is eager to go through these vital stages of life. Following is where a boy’s life begins in the Maasai society.
In the Maasai community is conducted after initiation of the boy and girl. The marriage is arranged by elders without informing the bride and her mother. Dances are common and this is where boys and girls will meet. Domestic Unit. The father is the key figure in the patriarchal family.
And, theoretically, his control is absolute subject only to interference by close senior elders in situations of crisis. Traditionally, as long as the father was alive, no son had final control over his cattle nor over his choice in marriage. this is still the norm in pastoral areas, away from the townships. In practice, as they age, older men rely on their sons to take over the management of the family. And it is the subservience of women that is the most permanent feature of the Maasai family. After her husband’s death, even a forceful widow is subordinate to her sons in the management of her herd, and she finds herself wholly unprotected if she has no sons.
At marriage, a bride is allocated a herd of cattle, from which all her sons will build up herds of their own, overseen by their father, who also makes gifts of cattle to his sons over the course of his life. When the parents die, the oldest son inherits the residue of his father’s herd, and the youngest inherits the residue of his mother’s allocated cattle. Daughters inherit nothing at all.
The warrior village plays a key role in the socialization of men. Boys are taken away by their older warrior brothers as herders and are taught to respond to the discipline of the warrior village. Then, in due course, as warriors within their own village and they are expected to develop an unquestioning acceptance of the authority of their peers to emerge to elderhood with a strong sense of loyalty to this peer group. A girl’s childhood is dominated by a strict avoidance, even a fear, of her father and other elders. Her marriage prospects and her family’s reputation hinge on her ability to develop an acute sense of respect. She is socialized to accept her subservience to her future husband himself an elder and to the elders at large.