The Maasai ethnic warriors in Africa hunt lions to prove their bravery and personal achievement.
Lion hunting is a long-standing tradition, playing an important role in the Maasai culture. This tradition is not like hunting wild animals for trophies, the Maasai perform this ritual to find the tribe’s hero.
Under the rules of the tribe, the warriors are not allowed to hunt a lion who is suffering from drought, trapping or poisoning. The Maasai believe that women are the bearers of all species, so they prohibit hunting the female lions unless they threaten the tribe’s cattle.
Usually after 10-15 years of milestones, each warrior must count the number of lions hunted to compare them with the previous timeline, thereby assessing personal experience through each stage.
Empikas is the name of the lion hunting warriors, they must plan a few days before leaving. The plan was secretly done, no one but empikas knew about this. Experienced people fear that information may come to the opponents of hunting lions. If a warrior reveals information about the hunt, his teammates will beat him to punish him.
The hunt began at dawn, and the warriors had to leave the village when women and old people slept to avoid discouragement. They gathered at a landmark outside the village, heading towards the most visible lion. They follow footprints, feces and urine or vultures.
Empikas divided into groups after departure. Ilmorijo is a senior group with experienced, healthy and capable of dealing with a lion. Ilmeluaya are brave warriors, ready to live and die with lions. Ilbarnot is a group of young warriors who will be excluded if they cannot afford it.
Those who were forced to go home were asked to keep the hunt secret until their comrades returned, sometimes the predecessors also forced them to leave their shields and spears. This is considered an insult.
When the warriors return from the hunt with a lion, the Maasai community will celebrate for a week. Women from different villages will embrace warriors who stab into the first lion. They do not eat lion meat but only take nails, tail and mane.
Warriors who hunt lions will get Imporro, beaded shoulder straps. He will wear it throughout the ceremony and be respected for life by the Maasai community.
Today, the Maasai have switched to organizing the Olympics for the boys in the village to compete, instead of hunting lions to protect this animal. They open many subjects such as running multiple distances, throwing spears, jumping high, …