They have survived by subsistence farming and commerce. Their crops include yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava. They also grow grain crops, peanuts, tomato and okra.
The traditional Tiv people regarded farming as their birthright and they are committed to it.
The Tiv people though small in number have been able to maintain their culture and tradition to a reasonable extent. Like every other culture in Nigeria and Africa at large, the Tiv people are superstitious. They believe that the universe is created by Aondo (god). They believe Aondo use to stay closer to the earth but were stroke by a woman pounding food. This made him retreat. Although their relationship with him may seem weak, they believe that most actions necessary for the sustenance of life can only be performed by him.
They believe the power of good and evil is within a man's heart.
When evil within is set in motion by evil men, misfortunes are bound to occur. This leads to sickness and disease which requires sacrifice to repair.
Music is said to heal the soul, I strongly agree with this. The Tiv people are not left out. The Tiv people have the Girinya dance, performed either on a social or ritual level. The Girinya dance is done to honor fallen heroes. The Girinya dance has evolved into the Wanger and Swange dances.
They also have the Kwagh-hir dance which is more of storytelling, and involves puppets. It is performed on special occasions.
Tsav-utu dance is one based on the belief that there is a spirit world similar to the normal human world. Props such as spears, guns, arrows, and lighted pots are used during performance. The lighted pots are believed to be carried by girls who died as virgins.
Some of the Tiv musical/communication instruments include: Iluyu, Kakaki, Akya, Gbande, Indyer, and Adiguve.
Generally, one can identify a Tiv man or woman by his dressing or rather choice of material. As simple and plain as the design may seem, it hold the basic truth of life. They are known for their famous white and black fabric, called the A'nger. Woven with white and black yarn to create make the cloth appear like a Zebra skin, the A'nger signifies the true nature of the Tiv people. It is yes or no, white or black, left or right, etc. The Tiv man believes in honesty and sincerity, clearing taking a stand on issues. Just like the gentle and calm nature of the Zebra, the Tiv people use this color to signify their peaceful and hardworking nature.
The A'nger is bestowed upon illustrious sons and daughters as well as outsiders who have distinguished themselves (done well), although in recent times have been politicized. The A'nger is the most prestigious fabric of the Tiv people. Other fabrics include Tugudu, Godo, Lishi, Chado, and Gurugu, amongst others.
I hope you enjoyed today's post on culture series, thanks.