Process and Analysis Essay, TOPIC: MASAI MARRIAGE CEREMONY IN TANZANIA (any comments will be appreciated)

Essay by potatomouseCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2002

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Tanzania has more than 120 ethnic groups. The largest are the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi. Each represents about a fifth of the country's population and both speak a Bantu language. A well-known non-Bantu tribe, the Masai, occupies the northeastern region. On Zanzibar, many people are descended from Arabian peoples, including the Shirazi of Persia and Comorians from the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean. Asians and Europeans are small minorities in Tanzania. They practice a nomadic lifestyle, moving around within their territory, burning the villages they leave behind.

Before Masai men can marry, they are expected to earn a Moran title by killing a lion using spears or clubs. This will prove that he is strong enough to protect his wife to be. For a Masai boy, responsibility begins in childhood. As soon as he learns how to walk, he is sent out to herd the livestock.

This is not an easy duty, for already he has to know much about the dangers of the Savannah. For example, to scare away hyenas, he has to make himself look tall because hyenas only attack victims smaller then their own size. Then he tattoe his ears, like a piercing to enlarge the lobes. This is a very painful act because it takes away almost his entire earlobe and is done with a regular Masai sword. But this is the only way they can attract Masai girls and appear brave. Now he has to wait until the elders of the community decide that he can now become a Moran (initiate) through a very painful ceremony of initiation including circumcision. This decision is based on his maturity and not his age. The circumcision ceremony can only be held in a leap year (a year with 366 days).