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The Massai Tribe of Kenya: Colors and Their Meanings

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Lauren Sauder

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of The Massai Tribe of Kenya: Colors and Their Meanings

The Massai People
and the meanings they give to colors Who are the Massai, and where do they live? semi-nomatic
rely on cattle, goats, and sheep
different colors represent different aspects of their culture ORANGE [hospitality, warmth, friendship, & generosity] main use: gourds BLUE Maasai religion says that the maasai people were gifted with the task of raising cattle, and that the cattle was sent down from heaven by a rope. BLUE = Sky the sky provides water (rain) for the cows This is important because cattle are revered by the Maasai as a source of food, clothing, and shelter. Blue can represent multiple things to different cultures, but it is a universally accepted color for the sky WHITE [purity & health] [sustenance & energy] WHITE is holy because it is the color of milk, which comes from cows WHITE represents health because of the nutrients that milk provides to the people A lot of cultures would describe white as being a pure color, but for different reasons. In the Christian faith we talk about white robes on angels and things as being holy RED [danger, bravery, strength, & unity] RED is the most important color for the Maasai people. It represents blood, and it is considered important for Maasai warriors to wear it as a way to protect themselves against wild animals. RED is considered a sacred color, and is always the basic color of the shuka, or blanket worn around the shoulders by both men and women. Traditional dress Young Maasai warriors: hair smeared with red ochre
short crimson wrap-skirt Elderly Men: long red wrap-robe and sash
red shuka Maasai women: dress in colorful clothing, with red as the dominant shade GREEN [nourishment & production] GREEN = land the land provides food for the Maasai and their livestock GREEN also represents the need to protect territory, and to be rooted in a place YELLOW [fertility & growth] YELLOW represents the sun, which sustains life by helping grass, which cattle eat, to grow In eastern culture, yellow is considered to be a sacred, imperial color However, Western culture is very similar to the Maasai in that yellow is considered to be a sign of happiness and prosperity Western and Eastern cultures generally view GREEN as a sign of regeneration and hope. HOWEVER, green can also represent jealousy in Western culture. in Eastern and Irish culture, orange is considered to be a spiritual color In Western culture, orange represents Halloween In Western culture, RED is used to represent love In Eastern culture, RED represents good fortune and prosperity
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