For both Maasai women and men beauty is a very important aspect of Maasai culture and beads are used as a form of adornment throughout everyday life, ceremonies, and rites of passage and are often given to visitors as a sign of gratitude and respect. The Maasai have always been known for their vibrant dress and colorful beadwork but what many people do not know is that each color bead represents a different aspect of the Maasai culture.
Red: Represents bravery, strength, unity and the incredible challenges Maasai people face each day
Blue: Symbolizes energy and sustenance and the color of the sky, which provides water for the people and their cattle
Green: Symbolizes nourishment and production, representing the land that provides food for the people and their livestock. Green also symbolizes putting down roots and the protection of one’s territory
Orange: Symbolizes warmth, friendship, generosity and hospitality. Orange is representative of the color of a gourd which is used to share milk with guests and welcome visitors into one’s home
Yellow: Symbolizes fertility and growth, representing the color of the sun which helps grow the grass to feed the livestock and sustain life
White: Represents purity and health symbolizing the color of cow’s milk that provides sustained nourishment
Black: Symbolizes unity, harmony and solidarity, representing the color of the people and the daily struggles they endure each day