The kalabaris share similar culture/language to the Okrikas, Bonny, Opobo, Bayelsa Ijaws (Nembe in particular as the language is almost the same), Delta Ijaws, Ondo Ijaws and some parts of Edo state. It was discovered that in the 1980s, that a nearly extinct Berbice Dutch/KALABARI LANGUAGE was spoken in Central America. Guyana to be precise
The Kalabari constitute one of the largest ethnic groups in Rivers State with 3 LGAs and they are the largest Ijaws in terms of population in the state.. They constitute almost a million (90% of people based in Akulga, Asalga and Degema are indigenes, so the 2006 population census results states..(AKULGA:156,006 , ASALGA:220,110 , DEGEMA:249,773)..626000 altogether excluding the population of kalabaris based in Phalga LGA, Obioakpor LGA, LGAs in the state, indigenes outside Rivers State and diaspora.. Majority of Kalabari people stay at the PHALGA (Portharcourt old township, Borokiri, marine base, Dline, Diobu, Iwofe, Aggrey, Eagle island etc.) axis of Port Harcourt.
The kalabaris are highly educated and have the love for western education. They are known to have a high concentration of Professors, Lawyers and Doctors in Nigeria.. Because of their civilized and generally peaceful behaviour, the kalabaris were called English men in the past..
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KALABARI TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE:
This occurs in 3 forms namely; IYA, IGWA and WARRIBIOBESIME. The IYA is the most lawful and highest form of kalabari marriages. In this marriage, divorce is not permitted and the offspring belongs to the man’s house. An IYA marriage is not complete until the BIBIFE ceremony(buying the mouth) is undertaken. The BIBIFE signifies 3 things. First, a stage in a lawful marriage which gives the bride the right to eat in the husband’s house. Second, it signifies the man’s responsibility towards the wife and his willingness to feed her for the rest of her life.
Finally, it signifies and crowns the new communion between the 2 families. It involves serving the bride with innumerable courses of food., usually in the evenings. Thus, the bride is dressed with coral accessories, crown and chunky coral beads.
This is a kalabari soup prepared using fresh fish and sea food. Cocoyam is usually used to thicken the soup.
ONUNU: This is another delicacy prepared by pounding boiled plantain with yam. It is then finished off with palm oil.
credit: Ibiso1986: google image