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An Insight Into Efik Tribe of Nigeria Where Girls Prepare for Marriage By Eating Till They Have A Round Shape.
It is important to state here that in addition to their present homeland, the Efik people also occupy southwestern Cameroon including Bakassi.
It took the loving people of Efik over five hundred years of migration to finally inhabit the coastal area of South-Eastern Nigeria, Cross River State.
The old ‘Fattening Room’ tradition is the first thing that comes to mind whenever this subject (Efik marriage) is to be discussed.
Although greatly modified for today’s generation, the fattening room tradition of the Efik people was/is the secluded training given to maidens in preparation for womanhood.
Six months before marriage, Efik girls are sent to the fattening room that they may be pampered with massages from head to toe; fed as much as they would like to eat, and enlighten them on the ins and outs of marriage. They would not be allowed to do any work.
Instead, they are to eat sumptuous dishes, engage in meaningful conversation, and sleep; coupled with the three times daily massages that are meant to bring out the natural endowments.
Because it is the belief of the Efik people that a woman who is full-figured with a healthy waistline is beautiful.
In addition to the above Fattening Room activities, the girl goes through domestic training of home management (like cooking, child care, and housekeeping) and how to respect and make her husband be and his family happy.
It is the duty of older women to give advice about their experience in marriage to ensure a successful one.
Also included in the training are the cultural dances (Ekombi), folklore, folktales, songs, and other forms of entertainment. Skills in artistic designs on Calabash and other materials are taught as well.
It is here that she is also taught about sęx with the intention of giving proper satisfaction to her husband.
At the end of the six months period, which also brings an end of the seclusion days, people all over are invited to honour her success in passing through this ordeal.
This ceremony is celebrated with traditional Efik dances (Ekombi) and other forms of entertainment.
The ceremony continues throughout the whole day and night as families, friends, and well-wishers express their joy and happiness with gifts and donations to the bride.
And finally, she and her future husband embrace and dance; welcoming the good wishers that have come to join the celebration.
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