The Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem is at the heart of Maasai country. The Maasai people are traditionally pastoralists, moving across the landscape in search of forage for their cattle. Every 14 years, the Masai community initiates a new age-set of warriors, who range in age from 12 to 20 years. In an important rite of passage, these boys become men during a circumcision ceremony and several subsequent months of rigorous cultural training in the skills and responsibilities of a warrior.
We were fortunate to be invited to some of the festivities taking place the evening before several local boys were to be circumcised. The ceremony involved the trappings of most good parties, including singing, dancing, eating, and drinking. In the late afternoon, a group of recently circumcised young men surrounded the boys about to be circumcised, alternately chiding and encouraging them during hours of singing and dancing in the boma of one of the initiates. In another nearby boma, women and warriors from the previous age-set sang and danced. At sunset, warriors ran the initiates all the way down the slopes of Mount Meru to a ceremonial center in Arusha, returning just before the dawn “operation.”
Please enjoy some photographs from this very special occasion.
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