Commonly known as the moran, they represent the young Maasai men who have undergone traditional rites of passage. After their graduation from childhood, Maasai boys become men and enter the next stage of their life, Moranhood, or warriorhood. Through traditional rituals and ceremonies young men are guided and mentored by their fathers and other elders in the community on their new responsibilities as morans.
During this time the junior warriors live with their families, but after a few years, once they reach maturity, they move out and live with other warriors in a manyatta, a kraal specially built for warriors, their girlfriends, and the fire stick elders, who will continue the instruction of the warriors.
They are strong with great physique and brimming with strength, confidence, beauty and prospects of the future. They represent the new generation, an age group and they are respected by other members of the community. They protect the community from external attacks; also organize counter-raids to recover stolen livestock from neighboring communities. They seek strategy advice from elders and spiritual blessing from the Olaibon – the Maasai spiritual leader.
Warriors are initiated over an almost 7 year period and remain warriors from their mid-teens to early thirties. Junior warriors, called ilkeliani, are instructed by senior warriors in cattle raiding, war tactics and hunting strategies.
They wear enkishili in around the forehead. The hair is painted with the concoction mixture of red-oxide liquid and oil melted from the bull’s fat.
Some of these items are inherited from the parents, are symbolic and held with prestige and high accord. The basic items of inheritance in contemporary Maasai society, at the family level, are symbolic items, such as the father’s traditional stool (olorika loo nkejek), the snuff and tobacco container (olkidong), the metal bracelets worn by all his sons (ilkataarri), the sword (olalem), ear ornaments (isakankarri anaamuna), the walking stick (olartat), and a prestigious cloth made from Columbus monkey or hyrax skin and worn only occasionally (enkila)
Music and Dance:
Maasai music consists of rhythms provided by a chorus of vocalists singing while a song leader, or olaranyani, sings the entire song. The olaranyani is usually the singer who can best sing that song, although any volunteer individual may lead a song. The olaranyani begins by singing a line of a song. The group will respond with one unanimous call in acknowledgment. Song lyrics follow a typical unique theme and often repeated over time. Neck and leg movements accompany singing. When breathing out the head is leaned forward. The head is titled back for an inward breath.
Maasai mamas chant lullabies, humming songs and songs praising their sons. When mamas gather together, they sing joyous songs and dance among themselves.
One exception to the vocal nature of Maasai music is the use of the horn of the Greater Kudu to summon morans for the Eunoto ceremony. Traditionally, the horn of the Greater Kudu is used to make calls for the warriors to gather, in case of an attack on the community or during special cultural ceremonies such as the Eunoto, Enkipata or Elmuget.
Maasai singing and dancing sometimes occur around manyattas, and involves flirting. Young men will form a curved line and rhythmically, “Ooooooh- oyeeh”, with a growl and staccato cough along with the thrust and withdrawal of their lower bodies. The singing is followed by systematic jumping in the semi-circle. Girls stand in front of men and make the same pelvis lunges while singing a high dying fall of “Oiiiiiyeee…yee” in counterpoint to the men. Although bodies come in close proximity, they do not touch.