Olpul Meat-Feasting

This geo-tourism comprises the caves and rock shelters in Enduleni, Misigyo and Kakesio villages (Plate 19-21). The Maasai use these areas for meat-feasting ceremony known as Olpul.  Recent rock art studies have conducted ethnographic enquiries to Maasai who are sought to be the artists of many painting sites belonging to Maasai Olpul Art Tradition in Ngorongoro NCA, Serengeti and Simiyu region (Mabulla and Gidna, 2014, Mabulla, 2014).

Their ethnographic enquiries indicate that the meat-feasting ceremony (Olpul) is mainly done in rainy season usually around March or April. The ceremony involves about ten Maasai worriers (Moranis) who organize themselves and contribute one grown fat cow each or two goats for the person who does not have cows. Then they ask two old people (Laibons) who have traditional medicines knowledge to accompanying them in the bush. After reaching the bush they slaughter cows and mix the herbal medicines in the soup.Then feasting of herbal soup and meat begins, near source of water as it helps during meat preparation and cooking (Women are not allowed to participate in olpul). According to their informants usually the olpul ceremony camp is established near shelters, caves or big tree to cover themselves and the meat if it is raining. Thus it should be noted that Olpul is not a ritual ceremony rather the meat-feasting ceremony. Normally in the past during the Olpul ceremony the Maasai painted on the shelter’s walls and ceilings the animals they eat and encountered the symbols of animals they eat, weapons and humans. The Moranis did paintingsduring or after the olpul ceremony. There are common plants which are used in Olpul, as shown in plate 22.

 

Plate 19: Olpul cave in Enduleni

 

Plate 20: Olpul caves in Misigyo village

 

Plate 21: Kakesio Olpul cave

Plate 22: Hagenia abysinica (left), used for bedding and Maesa lanceolata (right) herbal medicine used to mix up in the soup during Olpul ceremony respectively.