Easily the most visually striking aspect of Maasai culture is the clothing and jewelry. The Shuka is a traditional robe that is predominantly red. Though many have noted the similarity to Scottish tartans, no one is certain where the classic plaid pattern originated. The clothing style and colors change depending on age and social position.

Similarly, traditional Maasai beaded collars use colors to identify their age, social status, marital status, clan, and more! 

Red is the most important color; symbolizing courage, bravery, and strength. The Maasai also believe that red scares off predators like lions even at long distances. Red also represents unity within the Maasai culture because livestock are slaughtered when communities come together in celebration.

White is the color of cow’s milk and therefore represents energy and purity. Similarly, green is the color of the grasses that feed cattle and therefore symbolizes health and well-being. Blue is the color of the sky which provides rain and yellow is the color of the sun – together they provide the necessary components for life. Orange represents hospitality, friendship, and generosity while black symbolizes the people and the hardships they must endure. 

If you’re interested in seeing and learning more about traditional Maasai clothing from a Maasai, make sure to let us know you’re interested in a cultural tour when booking!