Maasai Naming System

The Maasai names are given to preserve and honor the community heritage like the rest of the tribes in Africa. Some of these names and their meanings are;

MAASAI

deangichuki

9/7/20212 min read

boy in white shirt sitting on brown wooden desk chair

I’ve always been fascinated with Maasai names, I think they sound really exotic and they usually have a nice ring to them. They slide really easily off the tongue. Like me, you may be one of those people who join in the fascination and have always wondered what these names mean. We shall explore some of that in this article but most importantly, we shall educate ourselves on the naming culture itself, that way we’re able to appreciate it even more.

When a Maasai child is born, he / she is not given an official name; rather, the child is given a temporary name, which is called the embolet, meaning an opening. From the day of his birth, until the naming ceremony is held, the child will be referred to using the embolet name. Depending on their family clans, some children may be as old as three years before the naming ceremony, which is called Enkipukonoto Eaji, meaning, coming out of the seclusion period. In the period leading up to the Enkipukonoto Eaji the mother and the baby remain in seclusion and let their hair grow long. During the naming ceremony, the hair is shaved off to symbolize a fresh start in the life of the child. For the kids that grow fond of their Embolet name, they are given that name permanently. Pretty cool right?

The Maasai names are given to preserve and honor the community heritage like the rest of the tribes in Africa. Some of these names and their meanings are;

For Girls:

Naserian - the peaceful one.

Namelok - The sweet one.

Nkasiogi - The one who is always in a hurry.

Nataana - Born of a neighbor.

Nalutuesha - a kid is born while it is raining.

Nalangu - those who came from another tribe.

Naisiae - Individuals who are hard working.

Naipanoi - The big one.

Naimutiae - Born in the evening.

Naeku - Born in the early morning.

Kingasunye - Chubby or fat.

Esiankiki- Young maiden.

Namunyak / Lankenua - The luck one.

Naipanoi -The big one, a large baby.

For Boys:

Barmasai - One who has killed or captured a Maasai.

Leboo - Born in the bush or outside the homestead.

Koinet - The tall one.

Legishon - The polite one.

Lemayian - The blessed one.

Lemuani -One from a large family.

Lolkerra - Owner of a flock of sheep.

Naengop - One from a large place.

Sironka - The pure or clean one.

Now even when you borrow some of their names, you have some understanding of it so you’ll be able to honor it. Which of these names would you definitely steal?