88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Listen in on a traditional African libation ceremony

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Ceremony to kick off Bronzeville Week

This week is Bronzeville Week in that historic district of Milwaukee. And every day, there are events in the neighborhood celebrating African American culture and commerce, both past and present.

The week kicked off last weekend with a dedication ceremony called a libation.

If you aren’t familiar, a libation is a traditional African observance performed at the beginning of significant occasions.

A leader addresses those gathered with a vessel filled with a liquid — any liquid — which is poured on the earth in four to five stages. ¬†Each pour honors something or someone of importance, including spirituality, ancestors, those living today, and the next generation of children.

But to fully appreciate a libation, you just have to hear it.

Click the player below to listen in on a libation performed at Bronzeville Arts and Culture Festival last weekend.

For more about Bronzeville week and its origin, check out the full calendar and an interview with Ald. Coggs here.