EFIK TRADITION:THE FATTENING ROOM

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The new age see’s people going crazy about their figure and how excess fat is not sexy or allowed in this present time. Many people go through several regiments and rudiments to shed weight, we are in constant awareness of our figure, we are constantly harassed psychologically and this is because somewhere in our minds our bodies have to be picture perfect so we constantly want to loose weight to portray the “perfect body” because any additional ounce or any increase in our stomach as women is seen as uncool and not sexy but this long standing Efik traditional takes weight gaining to another level.

Girls of the fattening room

Girls of the fattening room

The fattening room is a place where brides to be are sent to get beefed up and trained this tradition is an old age tradition that has been carried on by the Efik people of Calabar in southern Nigeria. Being Fattened is a sign that you come from a family that is able to take care of you, it means that while growing up you were properly carted for. For many of the Efik people a lady who has not gone through the fattening room does not qualify for marriage.

Now in the fattening room women tend to add two times the average weight of a woman which means they come out weighing 120kg since the average weight is 60kg and this is in a matter of  spending a few months in a secluded house where the brides to be would be chaperoned by a few female elders from the village who would be with them through the whole process. The brides in this place are expected to drink water and they drink twice the recommended amount which is about 4.2 litres per day.

In the Fattening room all the ladies regimen for the day includes waking up, eating and then they have their bath, they sleep and then follow the previous routine of waking up, eating and then sleeping. Now this regime is not all they do because in-between they receive three massages and then they are taught by the elderly women on the rudiments of taking care of a home like house maintenance, childcare, respect and how to satisfy her husbands desire in bed and they teach this by sharing their own experiences.

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Cooking

 

At the end of the stipulated period people are invited to what they term a graduation ceremony where they praise the ladies on the ordeal they went through in the fattening house to become a “Woman”. This ceremony includes members of her family and soon to be husbands family. This ceremony sees all form of entertainment and presentations and at the end the bride to be and her groom share a dance that o course gets people to cheer.

The debate in this culture is that why would a woman conform to staying isolated in a place because of tradition, some also ask why a woman would want to add weight when people try to loose weight for their wedding . Well in my opinion if anyone can go on BBA and stay secluded for three months what’s to say you can’t follow this beautiful tradition, but then again we have been westernised and a lot of people see this as extreme so am throwing this question out there, do you see this tradition as extreme or do you see it as something beautiful? Honest answers without bias is welcomed.

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