Masai Culture

History, Traditions, Culture and Beliefs of the Maasai People

Masai Culture; The Masai are a semi-nomadic people and live under a communal system. The movement of their livestock is based on a seasonal rotation.

According to their traditional land policies, no one should be deprived of access to natural resources such as water and land.

They are commonly associated with grazing their cattle over large territories and the requirement of killing a lion as part of initiation of young men into adulthood.

However, their ability to graze cattle anywhere has lessened in recent years due to increased urbanisation. In addition, the vast Maasai grazing land, Maasai Mara and Serengeti were named game reserves thus limiting their activity in these areas.

The Masai culture revolves around their cattle. Their spiritual belief is that the rain god gave all cattle to the Maasai people and therefore, anyone else who possesses cattle must have stolen them from the Maasai.

That belief often led to fatal altercations with other tribes of the region over the centuries when the Maasai attempted to “repossess their property".

Livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep are Maasai’s primary source of income. They therefore play an important role in the Maasai economy. A popular Maasai prayer is "Meishoo iyiook enkai inkishu o-nkera" meaning "May the Creator give us cattle and children.”

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