THE MAASAI MARA PEOPLE AND THEIR CULTURE
The masai people and their culture : The local people called the land “Mara” from there Masai language (Maa) meaning spotted a reference to its patchy landscape with riverine forest full of acacia trees and thorn bushes or dotted circled trees They live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. the Masai Mara are famously known for their tradition and leaving near the parks. They are related to the Dinka and Nuer and also speak Swahili and English. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately one million people.
Maasai are an indigenous ethnic group who have carried on their age-old customs like the use of shields and spears, throwing orinka (clubs) as high as possible and pastoralism to the extent that they rightfully demanded pasturing and grazing rights to several of the national parks. They carry out a communal land tenure system and move their herds from one place to another, so that the grass has a chance to grow again
They value cattle and children than anything else as the wealth of a man in their tradition is measured in terms of those two. they go ahead and says that God afforded them all the cattle on earth and believe that rustling from other tribes is a matter of claiming what is rightfully theirs,
The Maasai still rely on available materials to construct their unusual circular houses that are impermanent in nature and these are built by women and fences(enkang) by men. The traditional Maasai house was designed for people on the move
Elder men and retired elders in maasai mara determine most major matters for the Maasai tribes and for the boys, the age determine the role they play. As a symbol of wisdom and respect, the maasai mara stretch their earlobes using bones, stones and wood and also small piecing on top of the ear which adds on their beauty as they wear beaded earrings of different colors
The Maasai people are monotheistic and they believe in one god named Engai or Enkai. Who was manifested in two forms the black god(benevolent) who brings food and grass to the livestock and prosperity to the people and red god who brings about hunger and death,( who was vengeful) .The maasai are prayerful people and often offer sacrifice to their god .
For Maasai people living a traditional way of life funeral ceremonies are reserved for great people others are left out in the fields for scavengers, they do not perform funeral ceremony as they believe that burial is harmful to the soil.
Among the maasai we have the jumping dance (adamu) which takes place during the Eunoto ceremony It’s the mating dance and creates unity among the maasai people and its usually for young men as they initiate them into warriors so they always have to demonstrate their strength in this way. Maasai do not use drums or instruments as most tribes do they only use their voices. men will line and chant and the women stand in front of them and sing in counterpoint or melodies to them standing or dancing in a circular format with men in the center of the circle jumping higher and higher each time and vice versa
In maasai mara, traditionally colorful shuka varies by sex, age and place. They are of different colures which include; black, red which is the most favorite color as they believe they scare away lions, blue and also put on checked, multi colored mostly worn by women decorated with beads and striped cloths and these are worn on different occasions For example a girl to transition into womanhood She will wear dark clothing, paint her face with markings and then undergo a rite of passage involving a female circumcision. They also put om cowhide sandals with a wooden orinka in their hand- at ease with themselves