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Laipardak Maasai youth

 moran, laibardak, birds, crown, Maasai, Kenya, ceremony, circumcision, ilikiliani,
Birds crown

One of the most important Maasai personal ceremony, is circumcision, which take place when the boy is around 16 years old.

The first stage in that  initiation ceremony,  will be bird hunting, A way to prove his family that he is  fit to pass the next stage the circumcision itself).  The boy is hunting as many birds as possible. He is killing with stones, club or arrows, and will look for the most colorful birds.

After the killing, the boy will cut the bird belly, remove the flash, and will cover soft piece of wood with the skin and feathers. the bird then will be wrapped and kept in dry place.

A day after the circumcision the boy’s family members will prepare for him a ‘bird crown’  or ‘head piece’ (as seen in the photo).

The boy, now called ‘laipardak’,  wear the crown whenever he leaves home. It is his way to ‘show off’  since many will come to inspect the crown, and admire is fitness  if he killed rare birds, or very many, or very colorful. Elders  will show theirs appreciation by giving him presents of cattle or sheep.

A month later, when the boy healed, his head  will be shaved, he will throw the birds-crown into the cattle boma, and will start new stage in the Maasai life as ‘ilikiliani’ (young adult).

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