The Traditional Life of a Masai Boy

Published: 08th July 2010
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When a male child is born, unlike in other communities, there is no pomp and celebration. The parents do not even give him a name or introduce him to the society. This is because of the high infant mortality rate in the community. If he survives the first three months [three moons], a ceremony is performed where he is shaven, given a name and introduced to the society. He now becomes a full member of the community. Most of the boy's childhood is spent playing with other boys and herding calves. Nothing much is expected from him at this age and he is highly esteemed and regarded than the girl child.

From an early age, the need to instill a brave and enduring character is emphasized. Ritual beating is a common occurrence where the boys are flogged by an elder and taught how to endure the pain. This is to make them brave and men who can be trusted with the work of guarding the entire community from its enemies whether human or wild. When he reaches the age of around thirteen to twenty five an initiation ceremony is performed where he is circumcised.

This ceremony is a very painful procedure that involves cutting of the foreskin without using any anesthesia. The boy is not supposed to even wince in pain. This is a sign of bravery. The initiation ceremony graduates him from a boy to a Masai Moran. After fifteen years, in the next initiation ceremony, he graduates to a junior elder then a senior elder.

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