The Maasai People.
The Maasai people not (Masai) are widely known to be Audacious, Dauntless, gallant, mettlesome and Fortitudinous.
The colonial British troops used to incorrectly call them Masai which has stuck to date. The Maasai People were attacked by the British troops in the Early 20th Century. Despite the attack, the British had Mad Respect for these fortitudinous tribe. They had to do it in a calculated way otherwise, they would have embarrassed themselves.
The Maasai people are the few African tribes who have continued to keep their cultural heritage alive. However, they have slowly started to urbanize. Actually, one of my University Lecturer was a Maasai, who was a professor. I never used to miss his classes, he had engrossing stories regards to his fellow Maasai People.
I learned a lot through him and here are some of the things you probably did not know about the Maasai.
17.) Giving Birth to Twin is Bad Omen.
I was shocked just the way you are, My University professor told us that, he had a twin brother. One had to be eliminated at birth. From the look of his eyes as he was narrating the story, you could see the pain only if you looked closely but his voice was as clear and calm. These people are trained never to show any sense of weakness no matter the situation.
16.) The Maasai People Drink Raw Blood.
This is one of the Maasai Traditions, which they practice to date. They, however, keep the blood for special occasions like during birth, circumcision and other ceremonials. The elders use the blood to nurse hangovers.
They shoot a cow with a blunt bamboo arrow on the jugular vein. After taking enough blood they plaster it with mud.
They are not vampires though, but just a way of their life.
15.) They don’t reside in Kenya Alone.
The Maasai are majorly known to be Kenyans but this is not the case. We have Other Maasai`s in Northern Part of Tanzania. Though not as many as in Kenya. They all have the same practices, from Culture to staying around National parks and reserves.
Same red robes, making of jewellery, artefacts housing and everything else is a replica.
14.) The Maasai People Practise Predator Burial.
I was equally amazed, the Maasai People do not bury their own. They believe when a person dies that is the end of their journey. So, they give the body back by smearing oxblood or the fat and release the body to the wild for the animals.
13.) Weird Inheritance.
So, when the Head of the family is about to die. He calls all his sons and shares in equal portions of his wealth. The wealth is cattle and land, the more the cattle the Maasai have the wealthier they are perceived by the community.
So, the weird but engrossing at the same time is, once they are given their share. The sons have to give a small portion of their share to the Eldest brother to avoid the curse of benefitting wealth from a dead person. Since the firstborn is perceived or replaces their father as head of the family.
12.) The Maasai Women build the Houses.
It is rare to see women building houses in this urban setting. However, it is the duty of women to build their houses. They use grass, mud, cow dung and sticks.
The women also fetch water, cook and milk the cows. While the men fence the homestead and look for food through hunting. The Maasai Warriors have the mandate of protecting their community.
11.) The Maasai People Dance.
Probably one of the main tourist attractions in Kenya and Tanzania. Many tourists flock to their Villages, Known as The Maasai Village visit. There are many activities but one of the main is the singing and the Men Jumping as high as possible.
The one who jumps the highest is considered brave, strong and gallant. He flirts and gets all the girls with ease.
10.) Touristic Attractions.
The Maasai are a touristic magnet to Kenya and Tanzania. Many Tourist travels overseas to just come and witness this fierce and engrossing tribe.
They are now aware of this practice and they have made it a source of income and it gives hope. They are not about to abandon their way of life since it is a source of income on its own.
9.) Children and Cattle.
Nothing more important than Children and Cattle when it comes to the Maasai People. The cattle count as wealth and like everybody else. They hustle to accumulate cattle to have that societal status.
They use the cattle for trade, during marriage and a passage to their children.
The Maasai People consider children as a blessing and the more the children the better. Family planning is a myth to them to date.
8.) The Maasai people are Nomadic.
Well, this may have reduced, the Maasai people were originally from Sudan. They moved to and now permanently reside in Kenya and Tanzania.
However, their mud build huts were and are temporally symbolizing movement anytime. They used to move to greener pastures for their most treasured form of wealth, Cattle.
7.) Colourful Clothing.
The Maasai People wear Colorful Shuka (Sheets) Wrapped along their shoulders. You will rarely spot a Maasai wearing Modern Clothing unless the ones who have migrated to the city and dropped their way of the traditional practices.
The Maasai women often wear intricate jewellery made with beads, wood, clay or bone. Of course, alongside the colourful Maasai Shuka, which is one of the leading souvenirs when you visit East Africa.
6.) Body Modification.
The Maasai People have body modification, instead of the modern Tattoos. They have another form of traditional modification.
They have body marks, sometimes on their faces, while others have stretched earlobes which are fitted with sticks, beads and Sometimes stones.
The children have their baby teeth removed due to the belief that they will prevent illnesses.
5.) Baby 3 Moons.
The children mortality rate was high and because of this. A newborn was never counted as part of their community unless they hit the third Moon, meaning the third month only then they would start to recognize the baby as part of the family.
4.) The Maasai People are Patriarchy.
The elders are the ones who make decisions and the rules in the community. The young ones have little or no voice at all.
They are trained to be the Maasai Warriors. The elders organize for marriages, negotiate and make rules and whenever possible have the mantle to punish any wrongdoing.
3.) The Maasai People Marriage.
The elders have laid rules that the Maasai Warriors should not marry at a young age since they have the duty to protect the community and marrying would mean they will be destructed.
The Maasai Warriors only marry when they start ageing since they are now weak to fight. They marry a young and energetic lady since the ladies do not have much to do while young. You are most likely to spot a huge age difference between husband and wife.
2.) The Maasai people practise Polyandry.
The Maasai People value their children and due to the mortality rate. They will encourage a married woman to sleep with other Energetic men just in case the husband is old and weak or needs help. But this happens only when the wife agrees.
When the baby is born, the child is considered son or daughter of the husband and not the other Man.
1.) Dying Culture?
Dying Culture? Not anytime soon, as much as many Young Maasai People are migrating to the city and abandoning their cultural way of life. Hopefully, this culture is not about to be washed away and this is why.
I had mentioned it earlier though not as detailed. Now, most of these Maasai People live around in National Reserves and Parks. Most of the tourists never miss doing Maasai Village Tour.
They earn something meaningful to keep them around. It is a lifestyle that pays. So, How can it dye? It is not about to but here to stay so long as the tourists keep on visiting them.
There are many predictions this cultural practices will be extinct but I think whoever did that forgot it is now a source of income and not closing shop anytime soon.