Green is the color of St. Patrick’s Day. The Maasai traditionally don’t wear green clothing or jewelry using green beads. Things are changing these days and there is an occasional green cloth to be seen and even jewelry with touches of green. I met a lady yesterday wearing the immensely popular and durable plastic shoes. I asked her why she was wearing green ones. She told me: “It is true. We didn’t used to wear any green stuff, but now people wear what they like. I like my green shoes.”
Black, on the other hand, is a very significant color for the Maasai. It is the color of the rain clouds and hence symbolizes God’s loving care for the Maasai, his people. For example, people wear black when they go on pilgrimage to pray at places like Oldoinyo Le’nKai, the mountain of God. When leading church services, I wear black for the same reason. It is our “praying color.”
I’ve hear that in the orient, white is worn a funerals, whereas in the West the tradition was to wear black when mourning a loved one. These days in the West, we mostly wear white at funerals signing our belief that death is a transition to new life. Here at Olbalbal I’m sticking with black, even on St. Patrick’s Day.