Copyright © 2007 Stacy Victor McClain. All rights reserved.
The Masai (or Maasai) peoples are semi-nomadic, keep large herds of cattle, sheep and goats and have been known to protect their herds from lions. Masai men wear a red robe and spear while out shepherding their cattle, which neighboring lions have learned to associate with danger. A Masai village is made up of youths, warriors and a group of elders resides in each village. Youth become warriors when they are circumcised (usually 13-17 years of age). Before circumcision, there is a ceremony that initiates the youth into a warrior. The ceremony lasts 3-6 months. The youth then transcend into a village with other warriors. Warriors are the standing army of the Masai. In his late teens and early twenties, the warrior may be chosen as a junior elder, allowed to marry and return to a village that includes their mother, sisters, and lovers.
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