EFIK MARRIAGE: Steps/Items Recommended by Customs

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1. NDINÖ ÑWED (ISSUE OF INTENT NOTIFICATION/DECLARATION LETTER BY SUITOR ). This usually done without any accompanying Imum Ñkpö.

2. USEN EBUPDE NDÖ . Here, Mmin Uköñ Usuñ is required as Imum Ñkpö Ition (1Hot drink, 3Beer, 2Soft Drink), including Mmin Akam (Immum Ñkpö Ita=1hot, 1 Beer, 2 Soft Drink), Mmin Ukop Ikö (Imum Ñkpö Duopeba =1hot, 9 beer, 2 malt, 2 Soft drinks or as desired with 1hot but not exceeding the approved 12 bottles), as well as Mmin Eköm (for Öyöhö/ Adiaha ikpat Iba = Imum Ñkpö Edip ye Efurekiet (36)= 3 differentt hot drinks, 18 Beer, 30 Soft Drink + an Envelope of N20, 500. 00. For Adiaha ikpat Iba (Imum Ñkpö Edip ye inañ(24)=3 different hot, 12 beer, 18 Soft Drink + an Envelope of N20,500). For Uduwan = Imum Ñkpö Efurekiet (16) =3 different hot, 7 Beer, 12 Soft Drink)+an Envelope of N20,500).

Note the uniformity/similarity in the number of hot drinks and amount required in all 3 specified cases. Also that it is at the end of this stage 2 that the engagement ring called Uwañ Ubök is presented by the groom to be to his would be bride.

Mr Martin Bassey and wife
Martin Bassey donned in Efik traditional attire during his marriage ceremony

3. NKUHÖ OKUNE ÖFÖÑ: This is the period of the woman’s seclusion/preparation for marriage/marriage legalization by her parents with the consent of the groom to be, who occasionally may visit to see the woman and the level of progress made. Prior to the woman’s “coming out of seclusion”, her husband to be must give his would be father in-law OKPO ENYIN USUÑ [A he-goat to appreciate him, particularly to enable him host all invited guests at the ceremony of the coming out of  seclusion (USIO ÑKUHÖ) of the giver’s wife to be in order to qualify her to sit on MPOTO (Decorated Dais) for UTUAK NDOM (an approved session of Appreciation by parents, kin, friends etc.), and UTÖ NDUÑ UFÖK (Presentation of gifts items to bride by her parent(s) to suggests wealth or parental love/support at the occasion) . Here no Imum Ñkpö is required.

4. UFÖP ISO/ÑKPÖ EKA EYEN/UFÖP ISO EKAEYEN =Imum Ñkpö Efurekiet (1hot, 1 wine, 8 beer, 12 Soft/malt Drinks)+N10,000). This is closely followed by the bride price presentation by OFIORI NDÖ and the amount then was £12 but now N12,000 + Imum Ñkpö Aba ye Itiaita (48) =3 hot, 3wine, 24 beer, 36 Soft drinks.

5. EKEBE NDÖ usually contains assorted clothing/dressing items, jewelleries, accessories and Holy Bible. It is traditionally accompanied with an Envelope of N24, 000+Imum Ñkpö Edip ye inañ (24) = 1hot, 2wine, 12 beer, 18 Soft Drinke. Following after that is the presentation of Okuk Ukpan Añwa (mony in different denomination from the highest to the lowest eg. N1000, 500, 200,100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Then, the ÖKPÖNÖ NDIDI is added as a small amount of money (N1,600) to use and buy rope and literarily tie or forbid the woman against yielding to asunder/forewarn that infidelity is unacceptable and would not go unpunished if the bride is caught cheating on her husband.

6. MMIN MKPARAWA: This is the general name given to the drinks/ item(s) presented to officially inform, acknowledge and/or forbid [young] men in the bride’s community and/or neighbourhood from treating the bride disrespectfully, attempting to woo or have any serious man -woman relationship with her. It usually include 1hot, 1 native dry  gin, a carton of beer (with some Soft drinks but not traditionally  compulsory), packet(s) of cigarette, match box, I gallon of palmwine (mostly 10 or 20 litres)

7. NSUAN NSUAN MMIN : This refers to the assorted drinks presented for refreshment at the high table which may be more than Imum Ñkpö Aba ye Itiaita (48),  including 3 hot, 3wine, 24 beer and 36 Soft Drinks.

Finally, note for easy reference, calculation and presentation purposes that Efik rightly call or broadly classify every drink that is presented, recommended/accepted by Customs and Tradition for special ceremonial, religious or sociocultural event (s) as Efik marriage etc, IMUM ÑKPÖ. Also the fact that every set of drink item presented as Imum Ñkpö must traditionally be accompanied with recommended number of hot drink. Further, that in counting non beer, non hot drink Imum where 1 beer, like 1hot drink is counted as a whole, soft/malt drinks are measured as two equals to 1 beer. For instance, 20 Malt drinks =10 Beer. However, 1 beer, though equivalent in counting to 1hot is never the same thing as 1hot by Customs and Tradition.

© Holyns Hogan 2021

*[ Paraphrased and Published As Approved By The Palace of The Current Öböñ of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu (V) via His Eminence’s authorization]