This rite of passage is one of the most important Masai festivals - it marks the coming of age of Masai boys who are 12-25 years old. The planning for this ceremony itself takes two months. First, the boys must give away everything that they own. Then, on the day of the ceremony, the boys shave their heads and paint their faces with white chalk. They put on black cloaks and ostrich feather headdresses. Then, the village elders perform the initiation rights on each boy inside a small tent, where they are circumcised.The circumcision is done without anesthetic, which makes it quite painful. The boy must endure this pain in silence, and expressions of pain bring dishonor. The healing process takes about 3-4 months, and the boys much remain in black clothes for a period of 4-8 months. After this ritual is performed, the boys are now considered to be warriors. These warriors are in charge of the society's security, and during the drought season, both warriors and boys are responsible for herding livestock.
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