Anthropology Essay

1948 words - 8 pages

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The Masai People of Kenya and Tanzania
The Masai people commonly written Maasai make up one of the numerous varied African tribes inhabiting most of northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. In Kenya, they are located in three counties, specifically Samburu, Kajiado, and Narok. Smaller groups like the Njemps (Ilchamus) reside around Laikipia District and Lake Baringo. In Tanzania, the huge population inhabits Kiteto, Monduli, Ngorongoro, kilimanjaro and Longido. The Maasai (or Maa) natives are pastoralists fall under the plain Nilotes ethnic group. Even though the ethnic group has urbanized in recent times from their nomadic, pastoral, and warrior ways of life ...view middle of the document...

The manyattas are made up of sixty to a hundred shelters (usually huts) that home lots of people. Unlike the enkang, the manyatta does not have fences surrounding them.
2. Marriage customs, Rites of passage, Religions, death
There are a number of rites of passage that go along with precise rituals for every rite that stand for significant phases of a Maasai's existence. These rites of passage comprise of birth and babyhood, youth, warriorhood for boys and marriage ceremony for girls, matrimony and parenthood for males and parenthood for females, elder hood, and finally death. Pregnancy is a blissful occurrence since a big family is much loved. If it is the first pregnancy for a woman, a ritual is carried out at some point of the eighth month of the pregnancy. The pregnant woman will dress in a sheepskin skirt and shawl and will cover the blood and all over her body as a sign of purity. The woman will gulp water from a gourd and put on a grass ornament made by an old woman in the kin; the water and grass are taken to be lucky things. All the women, including her and children of that homestead will consume the ribs of a single side and the arms of the goat that is slaughtered by her spouse that daybreak (Priest 84-5).
Ahead of a child's first birthday, a baptism rite is held. Very early in the first light of the ritual, the mother picks an animal, either a bull or a goat, and the men direct it to the woods where it is killed for a feast. The children are cleaned properly, and the women put on their finest, most gorgeous beadwork. The child and the mother shave their heads indicating the child's foremost haircut and the mother’s first ever since the delivery of the child. The entrance of the mother's manyatta is closed off with bushes and twigs pending the day of the naming ritual, when she can clear it. When the livestock come back home and go in through the entrance, the ceremony formally begins. The aged are responsible for giving the child a name since they are taken to be consecrated and wise. (Priest 86-7)
The subsequent big rite of passage is youth and entails circumcision of both young men and women. The girls are circumcised at the beginning of puberty and boys amid the ages of eleven and fourteen. When the men have been initiated, they leave to go and dwell with the other circumcised men of the clan, staying in the manyatta. They put on women's jewelry and clothing that has been colored black and fixed firmly on one shoulder, with a thread of cowries fixed around their waist to maintain the dress in at the right place. Through this moment in time, the young men attain warrior status (Adamson 224).
Two months subsequent to the female circumcision, she is permitted to put on multicolored beads on her forehead and matrimony plans commence. The marriage of a young woman is prearranged many years ago by her parents and her suitor's father. The suitor takes an ox to the girl's family that is believed to be holy. The ox is butchered...

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