The Coming of Age Ceremony for the Efik born woman of the South South Region of Cross River State, Nigeria, is an honorable one. Ndung Ufok literally means ‘TO LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE’.

When a young woman is getting married according to Efik Culture, after her bride price (£12) has been paid, He accompanies it with boxes of clothes, shoes, accessories etc. After this comes the Ndung Ufok.

Ndung Ufok is the initiative of the bride’s mother. It’s an expression of her pride and joy that her daughter is going off to her husband’s house to raise her own home. About every Efik mother, sometimes not even minding where her husband is from , ensures she performs this ceremony for her daughter. Gifting her with boxes also but this time, with fabrics alone- Laces, George, other expensive fabrics and then bed sheets and towels as well. Added to these of course are gifts of kitchen items as an Efik woman is known (and raised) to be an expert in the kitchen. The real settling at home starts with the kitchen traditionally for the Efik woman. ‘I gave my daughter items to live in her home’. – This is what the mother does at the Ndung Ufok ceremony.

For Mayen who got married about 12 years ago, (Yes, the ceremony could still take place years after marriage) Although this was not done as a ceremony before she got married , her mother gave her a whole lot of items when she got married – Plates, pots, kitchen linen etc. This ceremony that took place December 10th , at her grandfather’s native home in Calabar, signified a passing down of Antique household items from generations down to her. With this ceremony she officially takes over all the expensive home items, from the Churchill Plates to brass trays .

I especially love the traditional Oyonyo gown which is worn also by Efik women at ceremonies as important as this. The Oyonyo is a long flowing royal looking gown with an empire cut waist and flamboyant sleeves made with expensive fabric and generously accessorized.

Mayen Bassey in the traditional Oyonyo Gown

The hope is that she will pass this down to her daughter in a ceremony just as this.

What similar traditional ceremonies do you know about where you come from? Let us know in the comment section.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Holiday!

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