Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welcome to week 12 in our ’52 Rituals/Traditions in 52 Weeks’

This week we have decided to look at ‘libation’ in ceremony and how you can use it to create an interesting and heart felt ceremony.

Some traditions or rituals are not unique to just one culture and are in fact practised in many cultures throughout the world. These rituals are often similar in nature, but may have different relevance or meaning depending on who is practising them. This is certainly true for libation rituals.

The libation ritual is a traditional part of ceremony practised by the Greeks, Romans, Africans and Burmese Buddhists to name only a few. The term ‘libation’ actually means ‘the pouring of a liquid offering as a religious ritual’ and this liquid may be any number of things, again dependant upon who is performing it.

In some African cultures, an essential part of any ceremony is the pouring of libation. Sometimes water, but most often a traditional wine is used for the pouring which it is believed shows recognition and thanks to their ancestors and the Gods. A prayer calling all to attend and participate is given by an elder who through this tradition invokes both ancestors and Gods to be present.

The Ancient Romans were also big believers in the use of libation rituals in ceremony, usually consisting of wine and perfumed oil, it was considered an act of great worship.

These days we still see libation rituals used in ceremony and also in showing recognition to those no longer with us. If you live in the United States you may have heard of the term ‘tipping a forty to their memory’ which involves tipping a small amount of liquid (usually liquor) from the glass before drinking, paying respect to and in memory of those no longer with us.

If you are looking for a simple, easy ritual to use in your wedding ceremony that doesn’t cost anything and allows you to word it specifically to recognise something, then a libation ritual is a fabulous idea.

You could ask the head of either of your families,-a grandmother or grandfather, the celebrant or anyone you wish - to lead the ritual and say a few words as to the sentiment of the ritual.

An example of this may be where a loved one has passed away or unable to be present and you are looking for a way to acknowledge those unable to be with you. A libation is a simple, yet powerful way to pay your respect and honour their significance.

The Wedding Gurus