The Efik as a people and just like other tribes in Nigeria, have a rich tradition which contributes in making their marriage ceremonies very colorful and rich.
The traditional marriage ceremony in Efik usually begins in some unusual ways. When a girl is of a marriageable age in Efik, especially when a man shows interest in an Efik girl, the girl is then sent into a fattening process to gain some weight in preparation for the marriage.
This is an age long traditions of the Efik called ‘Fattening Room’ During this period this fattening period, the girl is usually cared for by older women and not necessarily her mother but may be her aunts or elderly women from their village. While this fattening is going on, the woman is allowed to interact with other people.
This process ensures that the bride gets a healthy and admirable waistline that the suitor could be proud of. During this period, the girl is thought how to cook good food to her husband, how to be good in the bed, how to take care of children and how to make her family happy. She is also put through in artistic skills, designs on Calabash and some of their native folktales and cultural dances. Some times this process takes up to six months. There are even some cases where the fiance’s family reject the girl because of her not meeting up with proper structures. Efik full figured women with healthy waistlines to show for it.
Kwekudee At the end of the seclusion period, and if the satisfactory shape is met, a graduation ceremony is then held and people all over the communities are invited to come and witness the successful fattening periods. This ceremony is usually planned to coincide with the traditional marriage of the girl during which every forms of Efik’s traditional dance would be displayed. The feast continues throughout the whole day and night as both families together with friends and well wishers express their joys and happiness with various types of gifts to the newly married. Before all theses takes place, the groom would be presented with the list of all that are required for the traditional marriage ceremony.
Here Are The List Of Traditional Marriage Requirements For Calabar/Efik
1. Knocking drinks….One Brigadier Brandy, 1 bottle of star, and two minerals.
2. Prayer drinks…..One IMG dry Gin, two bottles of Star, two malts and two bottles of mineral.
3. Drinks for expressing intention….0ne Brandy, preferably Esplendido, three bottles of Star, two bottles of Stout (big), Four Gold malt, and two mineral.
4. Introduction Drinks…One bottle of (1501) big bottle, One MG dry Gin, Two Champdor red win, Six bottles of Star, Four bottles of Gulder, Six bottles of B/stout, Malts and minerals in any quantity with N30,000 cash.
5. Appreciation drinks…..One St. Remy, One MG Dry Gin, One Brgadier brand, Two Champdor red wine, Six bottles of Star, Four bottles of Gulder, and Stout, mineral/ malts with N10,000 cash. After the celebrations, the newly married are then accompanied home with their traditional folk dances which signifies the success of the occasion.