Praising Elegua and Offering Libations

Praising Elegua and Offering Libations (Dylan Alvarez)

Title: Praising Elegua and Offering Libations

General Information about Item:

  • Ritual, Sympathetic Magic
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: Nigeria
  • Informant: Professor Hafiz Shabazz
  • Date Collected: 3/1/18

Informant Data:

  • Hafiz Farel F. Shabazz – Master drummer and Director of the World Music Percussion Ensemble, is an ethnomusicologist, percussionist, performer, and lecturer. He is an initiated member of the Ancestral Shrine of the Ashanti Nation in Ghana, West Africa. Professor at Dartmouth College.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: The Elegua Orisha is known as one of the most important Orishas to the IFA religion and those who take part in bimbe ceremonies.
  • Social Context: This ritual is something that has been passed on for generations and is widely discussed among those in the IFA religion.


  • Prior to starting the Bimbe, it is crucial to say praise to Elegua, the keeper of the gates to the spirits. You also must offer Elegua a libation of some sort, often water or alcoholic beverages.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):


  • “Number of Orishas that we invoke or praise before we actually start the Bembe. The first that is always called upon is Elegua…is the keeper of the gates. Always happens and they always pour a libation for Elegua.”
  • “You don’t even think about Bembe until you praise Elegua.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The practice of praising Elegua prior to the Bimbe is very important ritual. If you do not offer it praise and libations, the invoking of the Orishas will often not work. Elegua is the keeper of the gates for the Orishas, so you shouldn’t even think about starting the Bimbe before doing this.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this idea of having an Orisha as the keeper of the gates very interesting. It was also interesting that if you do not do this, the ceremony will not successfully invoke the Orishas.

Collector’s Name: Dylan Alvarez


  • Ritual
  • Sympathetic Magic
  • Orisha