International Journal of Arts and Humanities

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Tiv Traditionalists and the Crave for Christian Burial

Adega AP and Jando FS


Corresponding author:      Adega AP :      Received: 16/7/2022 | Accepted:  19/7/2022 |                                   Published:  21/7/2022

Abstract: The paper Tiv Traditionalists and the crave for Christian burial examines the fast-moving trend in Tiv society where avowed traditionalists crave for Christian burial at the twilight of their existence. The motivation to unravel the circumstance behind this crave necessitated this research. In collecting materials for the documentation of this paper, two main sources of data collection procedures were followed; the primary and secondary sources of data collection. In the primary source of data collection, the phenomenological, observation, and oral interview methods were used. In the secondary source, library materials from documented sources related to the topic under discussion from books, journals, e-sources, newspapers and magazines were collated for use. The paper established that several factors account for why some Tiv traditionalists are seen “defecting” to Christianity. Some of the reasons uncovered include: The promise of salvation by Christian clergy, the fear of exhumation by the Mbatsav after burial and the glamour associated with Christian burials. It is the belief of most Tiv that deceased persons given full Christian burial rites involving the sprinkling of holy water, incense, holy oil etc makes the exhumation of such corpses by the Mbatsav (witches) nearby impossible. This has made many a Tiv traditionalists take refuge in Christianity to enjoy these spiritual benefits after death. Some priests have also been going about in villages indiscriminately baptizing and “converting” many elderly traditionalists to Christianity. However, some elders are found one leg in and one leg out of Christianity as they have no groundings in the faith. Most often these elders are seen observing the traditional practices they have so abandoned for Christianity thus casting doubts as to which of these faiths they owe true allegiance. The paper thus calls on Tiv traditionalists to hold onto their faith since there is also God and salvation in traditionalism instead of converting to Christianity not for concrete beliefs but to escape some form of torture in the afterlife. The paper encourages the Tiv to live good lives, as against evil lives so as to see the face of God when they pass on. The paper notes that it is not the kind of burial which one was accorded after death that matters; but the kind of live lived.
Keywords: Tiv, Traditionalists, Christian Burial.