A libation is, in its most basic form, a kind of prayer that is used in the traditional way of life in Africa. During libations, rather than closing one’s eyes as is customary in Western prayer, one keeps one’s eyes open in order to see what God has provided. The cultural source that gave rise to the practice of communion also gave rise to the tradition of libation, which is carried out during major occasions such as the birth of a child, the harvest, or a wedding. As a holy act performed in the context of a community, it contributes to the binding of families and communities with all that lives and everything that has ever lived. Keeping families connected to their ancestral heritage and preventing them from becoming alone and adrift in society are both acts that may be considered acts of memory in and of themselves.
Liquids are often used in libation, much as wine is in a communion; some may add water, as a symbol of the continuation of life, while others may use palm wine or oil, both of which are commonplace in Nigerian households. Others often make use of coconut milk, a fluid that is seen by many as a metaphor for the enigmas that are inherent in life. There are certain groups who honor their ancestors by drinking beer, gin, schnapps, or any number of other alcoholic drinks as a symbol.
In African communities, the pouring of libations adheres to a certain hierarchy that must be performed to the letter. The libation is performed in a manner that is very similar to that of the family lineage, and in many instances, it is a recital of a couple’s connections to each family member, whether they are alive, deceased, or yet to be born. A libation might be as simple as a statement of gratitude or as intricate as a choreopoem with many refrains of call and answer. Every adult member of African culture is held to the expectation that they are able to retrieve the relevant words at the appropriate times. It is traditionally done by the oldest member of the family, although it may also be done by a respected relative or friend of the family. It’s possible that the officiant will be accompanied by instruments like bells, drums, or horns. The feelings and the atmosphere may be strengthened by the use of repetition. This is a standard form of good luck: “May the spirits on high as well as the spirits below fill you with grace.”
A celebratory drink has the potential to be one of the most exciting aspects of a wedding ceremony. It is possible that it will be done both during the ceremony and again during the reception. It is both significant and vibrant, and it provides a chance to stop and think about how important it is to be with one’s family. Young people are assisted in reclaiming their family legacy via the performance of this significant act of memory.
Given that it is a kind of prayer, it has the potential to arouse strong sensations and a sense of well-wishing. In addition to this, it provides a means of drawing attention to the connections that exist between the two families. Elevating the celebration and engaging visitors and family members in a more intimate manner are both possible goals that may be accomplished with the help of libations. Additionally, it may be a time of emotional reconciliation and celebration for anybody who has experienced the loss of a parent or other member of the family.
Like a prayer, a libation begins with an invocation that extends an invitation to everyone present to take part. After that comes an introduction, in which forefathers, elders, and other members of the family could be mentioned. The petition addresses itself to God and begs for his blessings. In the conclusion, we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who took part in the libation. Additionally, it returns the souls to their homes.
This libation explains the significance of preserving one’s immortality. We repeat our own name seven times in the hopes that one day our descendants will hold us in the same esteem as they do our forebears and will remember us forever. We pray that God will look down upon his children and watch over them as they get together to celebrate, remember, and honour him on this special day. Your blessing of strength and cohesion would be much appreciated. We pay respect to our forefathers and beg that those who have a foot in both realms bring God’s blessing on behalf of all of us so that he may hear our supplications. We would want to give a shout-out to everyone whose courage, blessings, persistence, and acts helped to raise and strengthen these families. We raise our voices in an effort to bring these two families together. We raise our voices in an effort to dispel ill will. We raise our voices so that there may be peace. And when the festivities come to a close, we want to make sure that everyone goes home feeling even more fortunate than when they arrived.