What are the traditional roles of men and women in Maasai Culture?

What are the traditional roles of men and women in Maasai Culture?

The Maasai are a strongly patriarchal society. A boy's or man's age determines the role he is to play. Every 15 years, a new generation of warriors (called Morans, or Il-moran) is initiated, including all boys 12-25 years old who have reached puberty and who did not join the previous generation of warriors. Becoming a warrior is a matter of honor and responsibility, and boys undergo several rites of passage to achieve it. One such rite of passage is the emorata, a circumcision performed without anesthetic. The boy must endure the operation in silence (as expressions of pain can bring temporary dishonor upon him) and upon completion is considered a junior warrior. The healing process takes three to four months, and the junior warrior wears black clothes and lives in a separate village, called a manyatta, for four to eight months after the ceremony. The manyatta has no circular fence protecting it, emphasizing the role the warrior will play in protecting the community. During this time, junior warriors go through several rites of...
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Get to know the Maasai

If the reality of the Maasai people seems distant to you, you’re not alone. Most people outside of Africa are unaware of the Maasai, their customs and traditions, and the challenges they face. The chances of your having met a Maasai are rather slim as well, unless of course you’ve travelled to Kenya or northern Tanzania, areas to which they are indigenous. However distant, the Maasai share many characteristics with us. They are resilient and hard working, they have strong beliefs, values and traditions, and they have a long history with periods of prosperity and others of accentuated hardship. They are warm, and welcoming, and curious about the world abroad. The Maasai culture is steeped in tradition, dating back for many centuries. Strongly patriarchal in nature, the men are responsible for the safety of the village, developing and improving the community’s cattle stock through trades and bartering, and making all relevant political decisions. Women are responsible for all matters regarding the home,...
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