Beads in general are accessories with deep cultural significance in Ebiraland be it the ones for necklaces or wrist bands. The cultural significance of these beads are peculiar to each region in Africa, however there are similarities in most functions.
The Ebiras in West Africa (Okene Kogi Sate. Nigeria) are known to have varied peculiar reasons for using waist beads. They are worn mainly by women from the littlest to oldest (for some reasons which will be discussed in this article some men use it too).
Theses beads are made from small pieces of glass, nuts, wood or metal which are pierced, stringed, and threaded together. These beads come varying degrees of colour, length and even quality.
So why do Ebira People wear Waist Beads?
- Symbol of Love
Waist beads can be gifted to women as a symbol of love by suitor, husband or parents to demonstrate the love and affection they have for them (we can consider this as the valentine gift of those days for people that believed in valentine day).
- Sexual Attraction
Ebira Women wear waist beads because they believed it attracts the opposite sex, and yes it does and stirs deep emotional responses. I don’t know about you but it do attract me so much. The waist beads bring out the body figure and draw attention to the movements of the body. It is believed that some women lace their waist beads with love spells to evoke deeper sexual attraction.
In the olden days tradition forbids a woman from showing her waist beads to an opposite sex except they are legally married. It is also believed that seeing a woman’s bead is the same as seeing her nakedness. During marriage ceremonies, brides wear more waist to add more weight to their waist to attract their husbands.
It’s a secret weapon for women to keep a man and to spice up sexual life (I just hope our Ebira Women of now this age can adopt the act of wearing waist beads 90% of men like it).
- Ovulation Determinants
Waist beads are also used for acting as fertility signals which the woman use to determine her ovulation and avoid sexual intercourse with her husband. It is also believed that the beads are sometimes laced with charms to prevent pregnancy. (We can’t possibly blame our ancestors for using charm in every situation that arrives, because it is the only option they had science isn’t as advance as it is now).
- Fertility Enhancer
Waist beads are used to enhance fertility. It is because of the sexual attractiveness of the beads leads to increase the rate of sexual intercourse between couples. However, the beads are said to be laced with charm that promote fertility, protect pregnancy against bad energies and make child bearing easier.
- Proof of Sensuality
Waist beads are used to determine if a woman is chaste or provocative, by watching the rolling of the beads as she walks. It is believed that loose/unchaste women roll their waist seductively to gain attention from the opposite sex. It is the beads that make the buttock to shake..
- Spiritual Protections
The Onokus (the Ebira Believes about Onoku is coming in later article), devotees of water deities and priestesses wear waist beads as a means of protection from malicious spirits. Ordinary woman that is extra ordinarily beautiful wear this beads to protect their selves from evil spirits too.
Women wear it also to protect their pregnancies from spirits and evil charms that can affect them or leads them into having miscarriage or have a still birth or die during delivery.
Other uses of Ebira Waist Beads are:
- Weight control
- Rites of passage.
In Conclusion – Girls are also taught that wearing waist beads from early age helps them achieve more rounded hips, slim waists and fuller breasts.
Wearing waist beads in Ebiraland is a culture that will stick around for a while. Although some women swap beads for chains and belts, women are still interested in femininity and beauty of the waist beads. Not surprisingly men are interested in the sexual attractiveness and sensuality of waist beads and encourage their wives/partner to wear them…