Birthday celebrations in Africa
In West Africa, eight days after birth, the mother takes the baby for the first long walk, and friends and family are invited to a birthday celebration.. In some African tribes, there are initiation ceremonies for groups of children instead of birthdays. When the children reach the designated age, they learn the law, beliefs, customs, songs and dances from their tribe. Masai boys around the age of thirteen to seventeen go through two stages of preparation for adult life. The first stage takes about three months. The boys leave their parents' house, they paint their bodies white and learn to become young warriors. At the end of this stage, their heads are shaved and they are circumcised. In the second stage, young warriors grow long hair and live in manyatta camps where they learn to hunt wild animals, that can attack their herds. This stage may take several years. When they are ready, they find a wife, they marry and become owners of large herds of cattle like their fathers. The girls are initiated, when they are fourteen or fifteen. They are introduced by older women into their marital duties. They learn how to take care of children. Soon after, they marry and lead lives similar to their mothers.