The devoted people of Efik had to migrate for more than 500 years before they could settle in Cross River State, in South Eastern Nigeria.
Although the Efik people’s true origins are unknown, ancient accounts claim that they traveled from Nubia through Ghana and then on to Arochukwu in modern-day South East Nigeria.
It was not specified how long it took for their departure to reach Arochukwu, but it is known that the Efiks coexisted peacefully with the Aros for almost 400 years (from the 11th to the 15th century).
Later, after a dispute between them and their host, they would depart.
The majority of them fled to Uruan in modern-day Akwa Ibom State during the second phase of their flight, while a small number went to Eniong and the nearby territories.
They established themselves peacefully at Uruan, just as their ancestors had done in Arochukwu.
However, they would leave Uruan once more without leaving a note in history explaining why. And when they did, they discovered themselves in Ikpa Ene and Ndodihi.
However, this time they only stayed for a short while before moving on to Creek Town, which was their ultimate target (Esit Edik / Obio Oko).
The area that is now known as Calabar includes Creek Town and its surroundings.
This region was once a trust territory from German Cameroon that was governed as a component of the Eastern Region of Nigeria until 1954, when it attained autonomy.
Only when they gained autonomy did the political division take place.
A phase of Igbo people, a phase of Ibibio people, and a drift to the coast appear to be the three distinct phases of Efik migration and settlement history.
And it is because of this that the Annang, Ibibio, Igbo, Oron, Biase, Akampkpa, Uruan, and Eket peoples are linked to the modern-day Efiks.
Efik tradition of marriage
When this topic (Efik marriage) is brought up, the first thing that springs to mind is the old “Fattening Room” custom.
The Efik people’s fattening room custom was/is the solitary training provided to maidens in preparation for womanhood, but considerably altered for today’s age.
Efik girls are sent to the fattening room six months before marriage so they can be lavished with massages from head to toe, fed as much as they would like to eat, and educated on the ins and outs of marriage.
They wouldn’t be permitted to perform any work.
Instead, they are instructed to eat scrumptious meals, have deep conversations, and sleep, as well as receive massages three times per day that are intended to enhance their inherent gifts.
Since the Efik people hold the opinion that a lady with a full figure and a healthy waistline is lovely.
The female also receives domestic training in household management (such as cooking, child care, and housework), how to respect her spouse, and how to make her husband and his family happy, in addition to the aforementioned Fattening Room activities.
Older women have a responsibility to share their marriage-related wisdom in order to promote a happy union.
Folklore, songs, cultural dances (Ekombi), and other types of entertainment are also covered in the program. Additionally presented are techniques for creating creative designs on calabash and other materials.
She is also taught about sex in this place with the goal of providing her husband with appropriate gratification.
People from all over are invited to celebrate her triumph in surviving this struggle at the end of the six-month term, which also signals the end of the seclusion days.
Traditional Efik dances (Ekombi) and other forms of entertainment are used to mark this festival.
Families, friends, and well-wishers continue to participate in the ceremony throughout the day and into the night by giving the bride presents and donations to show their happiness and excitement.
Finally, she embraces and dances with her future husband to welcome their well-wishers who have come to join the party.
The majority of Efik foods come from the rivers because of the characteristics of their habitation.
The river banks and creeks appear to be shared by all Efik clans and subclans. And as a result, the seas play a significant role in their nutritional culture.
Some of them are:
Abassi is regarded as the Supreme Creator in the Efik approach (God). Atai, His wife, is regarded as the peacemaker.
Additionally, it’s thought that Atai persuaded Abassi to let two humans—a man and a woman—live on Earth, but prohibited them from working or having children.
Every time Abassi rang the dinner bell, the kids had to go back to heaven with him. These guidelines were put in place to prevent the Efik people from being smarter or more powerful than the Abassi.
However, the children disobeyed, and Abassi not only slaughtered them but also cursed them with chaos and death, much like Adam in the Bible.