Maasai | Masai | Maasai Culture | Maasai Tradition | Maasai Hair
Maasai Hair

Head shaving is common at many rites of passage, representing the fresh start that will be made as one passes from one to another of life's chapters.Warriors are the only members of the Maasai community to wear long hair, which they weave in thinly braided strands.


Upon reaching the age of 3 "moons", the child is named and the head is shaved clean apart from a tuft of hair, which resembles a cock's comb, from the nape of the neck to the forehead. The cockade symbolizes the "state of grace" accorded to infants.A woman who has lost a child in a previous pregnancy would position the hair at the front or back of the head, depending on whether she had lost a boy or a girl.


Two days before boys are circumcised, their heads are shaven. The young warriors then allow their hair to grow, and spend a great deal of time styling the hair. It is dressed with animal fat and ocher, and parted across the top of the head at ear level. Hair is then plaited: parted into small sections which are divided into two and twisted, first separately then together. Cotton or wool threads may be used to lengthen hair. The plaited hair may hang loose or be gathered together and bound with leather.When warriors go through the Eunoto, and become elders, their long plaited hair is shaven off.


As males have their heads shaved at the passage from one stage of life to another, a bride to be will have her head shaved, and two rams will be slaughtered in honor of the occasion.

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University of Nairobi