Ah, the Calabar bride. She is about the most distinctive of brides from all the ethnic groups in Nigeria; with her elaborate, colourful attire, she can never be mistaken for another. Although “Calabar” is usually understood to refer to the Efik ethnic group (the largest in the region), in this article it encompasses other ethnic groups in the area that share similar culture and attire; Bekwarra, Ejagham, Ibibio, Anaang and so on.
The Calabar bride may wear one of two outfits, or both (one after the other). The first is the 'Ofod Ukod Anwang' which showcases her as a desirable young maiden. It is made up of a knee length skirt, a blouse that usually covers only the bust and is made very fancy with lots of colourful beads, body paint and ornaments around her arms and legs called 'Ekpa ku kwa'.
The second is the 'Onyonyo'; a regal, flowing gown, also adorned with coral beads.
Most spectacular is the Calabar bride’s unique hairdo. Her hair is woven in elaborate patterns flowing down her back, and decorated with lots of brass hair pins/combs, giving her the appearance of a crowned queen.
The adorned staff she carries is the final prop in her royal attire. Here are some beautiful pictures of Calabar brides serving style for days.
Aren’t they lovely in their resplendent Ofod Ukod Anwang? These brides are a beautiful representation of the wonderful culture of the Calabar people.