Maasai|Masai Culture | Maasai Naming
Maasai Naming PDF Print E-mail

When a Maasai child is born, he/she is not given an official name; rather, the child is given a temporary name, which is called the embolet, meaning an opening. From the day of his birth, until the naming ceremony is held, the child will be referred to using the embolet name. Maasai children are not all the same age when their naming ceremony is held.

Depending on their family clans, some children may be as old as three years before the naming ceremony, which is called Enkipukonoto Eaji, meaning, coming out of the seclusion period. In the period leading up to the Enkipukonoto Eaji the mother and the baby remain in seclusion and let their hair grow long.

During the naming ceremony, the hair is shaved off to symbolise a fresh start in the life of the child.

For the kids that grow fond of their Embolet name, they are given that name permanently.

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University of Nairobi