Tivs hail from Benue State, in the North Central area of Nigeria.
The traditional marriage rites vary with local government but they are quite similar and could serve as a guide to a completely new person- giving the individual an idea of what to expect. This is a detailed by step marriage rite in Buruku Local Government; Mbagan, Mbaityo Kindred Family of Inder Atim of Benue state.
Usually, it begins with an official introduction, where the groom and his family visit the bride’s family. They are expected to come with salt, palm oil, a bottle of wine, gin and bush meat. On the occasion of this introduction, the two families pick a date for the traditional marriage.
On the same day, the bride’s family gives a list of items to the groom’s family. This list is usually divided into two, one for the father and another for the mother. Some of the items (for both father and mother) include pig, bush meat, palm oil, salt, wheelbarrow, umbrella, alcoholic/soft drinks, mat, chair, cowries, matches, basins, necklace, clothes, broom, table, among others.
On the traditional marriage day, the males and females from the bride’s family stay in separate rooms. The groom together with the other men in his family reach a consensus prior to the dowry payment. While remitting the agreed amount agreed upon as dowry, the items on the list given to the groom’s family during the introduction are presented. Where an item cannot be presented, a monetary substitute must be presented.
After this, the bride comes into the room where the men are in other to show them the man whom she wishes to marry by giving him a drink. Likewise, she takes the man to the room where the women in her family have been staying. She shows the man to her mum and the other women who the couple marital advice.
Although, it is not mandatory, the groom could give some money to the youth’s of the bride’s community after the ceremony. But if the groom is also a Tiv man, his family will await the arrival of the bride with Tiv traditional music and ‘Swonge’ (Tiv traditional) dancers; this process is called the ‘Kwase kuhwan’.
The bride price is but a token, the amount is based on the wishes of the bride’s family.