Tribes in Tanzania are many in number and one can explore a lot from the rich cultural backgrounds of the different tribes in Tanzania.
One can easily say a journey to Tanzania is like going to the beginning, like traveling to ground zero as it has been blessed with cultural diversity.
But what you’ll find here aren’t tribes stuck in the past. As you’ll discover more than 120 different tribal groups living very much in the present, a human tapestry weaving traditional with modern, rural with urban.
Nowhere else in Africa can you find this level of tribal diversity. Interestingly, Tanzania is the only African nation whose tribes represent all four of the continent’s major ethnolinguistic groups—Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan.
Maasai’s unique culture and way of life, dress style and strategic territory along the game parks in Tanzania have made them one of East Africa’s most internationally famous tribe.
Tanzania’s religious beliefs are as diverse and unique as its natural and cultural resources. Tanzanian tribes and religion has high influence upon Tanzanian culture.
Although there have been many attempts by the government to ‘tame’ the Maasai people by taking their land and turning it into national reserve parks and crop production land, they have maintained their customs and habits, traditional rituals for different rites of passage, when they shave their heads and dance in circles.
They have remained cattle breeders, eating mostly meat and milk that they produce themselves. Traditionally, the Maasai people are recognizable by wearing sandals, black, blue and red clothes, which they wrap around their bodies.
Women spend their spare time doing bead work and these accessories usually ornament their bodies, together with wooden bracelets and pierced earlobes. The Maasai have a patriarchal society and are divided into male groups, where elders usually decide on the important issues of the community.
The warriors are one of the most respected groups of the Maasai and are known world-wide. They have many privileges, since they are the only ones that can wear long hair.
The Maasai believe in one God, called” Engai”, though it has two natures; kind and vengeful. They have a “Laibon”, who is their spiritual leader. However, he doesn’t have any higher position in their community, just prophetic or healing powers.
Among the many singing and dancing ceremonies practised by the Maasai, the best-known is without doubt the adamu, or jumping dance.
It’s nearly impossible to beat Maasai in a jumping contest.
In this ritual, young Maasai men gather in a semicircle while rhythmically chanting in unison; then, each takes a turn stepping in front of the group, and jumping several times straight up in the air, as high as he can. The adamu (usually accompanied by high-energy whoops, and carefully observed by Maasai women standing nearby) functions as a show of strength for young Maasai warriors hoping to attract wives.
African safari travellers are often thrilled by the display, and some even attempt the jumping dance themselves. Very few can approach the heights reached by the warriors, though; they have been practising since childhood.
The fearless Maasai have always been calm and courageous. They were formerly hunters, with their young men trained to hunt for food and to protect their families.In fact, until recently, a Maasai boy would only be crowned a warrior if they killed a lion single-handedly using a spear.
Of course, this does not happen anymore as protection of our precious wildlife is paramount.
Yes, they drink cattle blood. This has probably been one of the most intriguing fact about the Maasai people.As strange as it may sound to some, the Maasai do in fact drink the raw blood of the cows and goats that they slaughter, which is their primary source of food. The act is considered honorable.
The drinking of blood used to take place on special occasions like when a woman gave birth or when a young man got circumcised, but nowadays the blood can be taken every time there is a slaughter..
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," is a Maasai proverb.