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Many Milestones: Birth & Coming of Age Rituals of the Maasai
Transcript of Many Milestones: Birth & Coming of Age Rituals of the Maasai
Rites and Roles
The Maasai of Kenya & Tanzania often organize their lives into many different segments, each giving the person more responsibilities and starting with its own ceremony.
Birth and Childhood
Once a midwife helps with delivery and cutting the umbilical cord, mother and baby are bathed in cow's milk and water. After this, the mother drinks cow blood. Five months later, to begin the naming ceremony, the mother walks to the birth hut with the baby strapped to her back. The elders, who are inside, choose the baby's name. The whole town drinks cow blood and milk in celebration. By two years old the toddlers' canine teeth are removed to ward off evil spirits. Soon, boys are separated into age groups.
Coming of Age and Adulthood
After warrior camp, boys become
(warriors). To become senior warriors, boys have their heads shaved and paint themselves red with ochre in the
ritual. They perform an
jump dance to attract a wife. After this they often raise a family and become junior elders. Meanwhile, women build houses and raise families with their husbands. They also provide most of the needs for the family such as milk, water, and cooking. Mothers are well respected, and elder women are treated equally to elder men.
The Boma Show: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pegolCn61wY
During puberty, both boys and girls go through multiple rites of passage. After all these ceremonies, at about age fifteen, boys go to warriors' camp (
) for ten years and girls marry men that are much older than them.