The traditional blessings of the new moran (or warrior) age-set called Iltuati took place recently at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is a traditional blessing ceremony that must be undergone by every Maasai age-set at the beginning of its transition to the next stage of life. It was meant to have been held last year but was postponed due to the severity of the drought.
The ceremony acts as an official pronouncement of the new entrants into warriorhood and as an alert to the senior morans that a new age-set will soon be taking over from them. Emurua Oldule, the venue of the ceremony has over the years acted as an important site for special occasions held by different age-groups from the Kisongo section of the Maasai tribe. This time, they came in big numbers from all corners of the constituency dressed in splendid beads of different colours, complete with their traditional ochre.
Also in attendance were their patrons, the Ilkidotu age-set who presided the blessings of their traditional sons. I felt proud to be in this category. The senior morans could only come as onlookers and were not invited into the special blessing enclosure. From now on almost all senior morans will be required to get married and start their own families and pave the way for the new kids on the block, who will soon be taking over their roles as warriors.
Like any other big traditional ceremony, political leaders tried to outdo each other with their grand entrances into the ceremonial venue. They came with different gifts for the occasion, perhaps with an eye for various political positions as the general election under the new constitution in 2012 draws near! The politicians were all trying to impress the new age-set as well as all other people in attendance.
Also in attendance were tourists from the nearby Amboseli National Park who heard that the event was happening and came to see a traditional occasion of a life time for themselves. The Lion Guardians team was invited to attend, and we obliged by joining the ceremony, and meeting with old friends and community leaders, and building new alliances. Clearly, this was an amazing sight to behold.