Home AFRICAN STORY Dressing According To Age, Gender And Stage In The Maasai Society

Dressing According To Age, Gender And Stage In The Maasai Society

by InlandTown Editor
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Amboseli, Kenya - March 11, 2011: Senior women and children in maasai village. The women are dressed in traditional colorful kangas and pearl jewellry. In the background thorn bush fence and mud huts.

The Maasai people of Kenya are renowned for their vibrant attire and striking adornments through which they have established a unique sartorial identity that reflects their deep connection to their ancestral lands and their ancient way of life.  Dressing in the Maasai society embodies functionality and symbolism, serving as a medium for self-expression, cultural preservation, and community identity.

The dressing style of Maasai women changes as she grows from an infant to an elder woman. These changes are visible in the clothing, and especially the colours, which are indicative of her age-set.

This article looks at the different clothing styles of Maasai women through different age sets.

1. Infants and ChildrenYoung children dressing style Maasai society Infants and children of the Maasai society up to the age of three or four generally wear one piece of cloth tied at the right shoulder. Sometimes, the additional cloth is wrapped around the shoulder to protect from cold.

2. TeenagersTeenage girls dressing style in the Maasai society

Teenage girls often wear clothing consisting of two pieces, one is worn around the waist fastened with a belt and the other across the right shoulder. They wear red and blue colour as it is known to be sacred and holy in the Maasai culture. Red – stands for bravery, unity, and blood, while blue represents energy and the sky.

3. Brides
A Maasai bride in Traditional outfitThe bride usually wears a red or orange coloured dress on her wedding day. The dress is generally decorated with patterns made by adding shimmering metal embellishments. Her jewellery is primarily in colour. The bridal collar, or necklace is made by her mother.

4. Pregnant Women
Maasai Pregnant womanPregnant women are usually dressed in either red, green, yellow, purple, or white with hints of black. According to Maasai Elders, red shuka, their traditional garment, wrapped around the woman’s body will protect the baby and give strength to the woman during pregnancy.

5. EldersElderly women dressing style in the Maasai societyTraditionally, Maasai elders wear clothes with fewer colours, limited to red, blue and purple.

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