THE BURIAL CEREMONY OF THE TIV PEOPLE OF BENUE STATE
Immediately someone dies in Benue state, the eldest son in the family of the deseased would send a formal note usually written specifically with a red pen to inform all the relatives of the death.
But now, as a result of civilization, the eldest son in some families no longer send notes written with a red pen, rather, they would send a formal message on the phone to their other relatives.
WHEN WOULD THE DEAD BE BURIED?
According to the tradition, there is no specific time fixed for the burial of a loved one, and it depends on when the family are ready financially to bury him.
But now, religion has eaten deep into this tradition and now, it is no more based on how capable the family are financially before they can bury their member, but how long their religion permits them to be in the mortuary.
For example, for the Roman catholics, they have a rule that corpses should not be kept for long, and burial has to be within the next twenty days of the person's death.
All close relatives would be expected to put in their own quota financially to make the burial a success.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF THE BURIAL
On the day of the burial, when the corpse arrives, before it is removed from the car it has been brought in, the eldest male would go there before any other person, and he would call on the name of the dead person.
When the person does not answer as expected, it would be confirmed and noted by everyone that the person is really dead.
After, they would expose the corpse for everyone to see, then based on the person's religion, a service would be held in honour of the dead, after which he/she would be buried.
WHERE THE DEAD WOULD BE BURIED
The dead, if it is a man would be buried in the house of his father, but if he has his own house, he would be buried there.
Married women would be buried in their husband's house. Unmarried ones would be buried in the houses of their fathers.
The reception comes after the burial.
Unlike most receptions when most people would only come to wine and dine, people in Benue state also make donations to support the family of the deceased financially.
Note that if the family is very buoyant, then apart from feeding the well- wishers, they could also give them souvenirs.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE RECEPTION?
After this, according to the tradition, the elders must sit down to discuss the cause of the death of their relative.
It is their belief that no one can die a natural death, and the death had to have been caused by someone else.
In line with that, they believe that before a person can die physically, someone would have killed him spiritually.
So they would make recourse to the gods to discover who is responsible, and when they get the person, he/she would be reprimanded and sometimes, would be punished to serve as a warning to others.
At this stage, all that would be required of the family members traditionally would have been completed and it is during this time that people would start going back to their respective homes.