African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 173

Full Length Research Paper

Bereavement: Festivities during mourning among the Tiv of Benue State, Nigeria

Moses Ichongo Ukeh
Superlife Consulting, Makurdi, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 24 April 2013
  •  Published: 31 May 2013



Until recently, death used to be a solemn occasion among the Tiv. The Tiv mourning custom of festivities during period of mourning compels the bereaved to provide for sympathisers instead of being provided for. This switch of roles and its supposed implications on bereaves motivated this research. A qualitative case study approach was used for analysis. A total of 125 participants, 84 males and 41 females of varying ages from 16 years and above from 6 Local Government Areas of Benue State responded to in-dept interview guide and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Participants’ review was done to confirm the accuracy of perspectives. Findings indicated among others that the Tiv are affected by bereavement on several dimensions of health, but the ability or otherwise to organise festivities today seems to determine bereaves’ outcome. This custom seems to be a product of redefinition of values by the elite to display affluence and is ignorantly copied within the society. Its practice has brought untold hardship on the poor but increased the status of the rich. The custom apart from being counter-productive, precludes younger Tiv from appreciating the functional aspects of funerals, thereby leading to distortion in recognition of the needs of bereaves. Education and re-orientation of the people to correct this anomaly is highly necessary.


Key words: Tiv, festivities, mourning, bereave, Benue State.