"But ain't much that we can do
Except pour brew throughout the crew to make sure we all remember you
And believe me it hurts
To see the boy you broke bread with six feet in the dirt"
— Geto Boys
, "Six Feet Deep"
Libation is the tradition of pouring some drink, usually alcoholic, on the ground as a sort of offering. Sometimes for the gods, sometimes to the dead. This trope is mostly about doing it in memory of dead friends. Traditionally, one pours on the ground before drinking oneself. Will often involve Talking to the Dead
as well. May be regarded as Due to the Dead
In the modern era, this is usually associated with the hip-hop subculture, where this is called "tipping" or "pouring one out". Commonly done with a 40 oz Malt Liquor. However, this is actually
a very ancient practice in some parts of the world.
Commonly a target of parody as well. A Sister Trope
of To Absent Friends
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Anime & Manga
- One Piece: Genzou, the policeman at Nami's home village, pours some sake on Nami's mother Bellemere's grave, after the Straw Hats defeat Arlong.
- Space Cruiser Yamato / Star Blazers Sgt. Saito pours sake on the graves of the many men lost.
- Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water the crew of Nautilus do this at a secret graveyard.
- Xam'd: Lost Memories: on the grave of an child enemy soldier, until Ishuu realizes the recipient is underage, and consumes the remainder.
- Implied in StrikerS Sound Stage X, where in exchange for information on Toreda and Ixpellia, Jail Scaglietti asks for enough Belka Red Wine for one so that he and the imprisoned Numbers Cyborgs can honor the death anniversary of their fellow Number Due.
- Vash pours a bottle of alcohol over one of the lightbulb shaped power plants. Turns out these are powered by angel-like beings, of which Vash is one.
- Seijuro Hiko does this in Rurouni Kenshin. More exactly, he pours sake on the graves that child!Kenshin dug for three slave girls he had befriended, who were cruelly slaughted by bandits (who were immediately thereafter killed by Hiko himself).
- Roybea Roy from After War Gundam X is shown pouring wine on the tombstone of his first love, the woman who gave him his Gundam
- In Monster, Lunge brings a bottle of beer to Grimmer's grave. Earlier, Reichwein had brought scotch to the grave of recovering alcoholic Richard Braun, saying that it was okay to have it now.
- Cowboy Bebop manages to make this trope creepy in "Black Dog Serenade". When one villain offers an assassin a bottle of champagne to celebrate their takeover of the prison ship, the assassin pours the champagne into the mouth of a dead guard while offering a toast to the devil.
- Tower of God: Baam and his friends poor wine to honor their dead comrade Ho.
- Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran: Ran insists that a new sake brewer's first batch goes to the master that died teaching him, just after burying the guy. She is a Hard-Drinking Party Girl, by the way, that should tell you how highly she reegards this trope.
- Eyeshield 21: It's done before the Ojou vs Deimon match.
- Reinhard von Lohengramm in Legend of Galactic Heroes poured a glass of white wine onto the glass windows in the Alliance National Museum of Art which he appropriated as his headquarters after he conquered the Alliance against the setting sun as a sign of respect to those who have died due to the war.
- Jonah pours one for his father after watching him die in Jonah Hex #69.
- In The Gridiron Gang, Willie and Kelvin are members of rival gangs. After football practice, Kelvin asks Willie if he'd like a bottle of water, but before Willie can grab it, he pours it onto the ground, stating "my dead homies drink before you do."
- In Once upon a Time in Mexico, Agent Ramirez, an FBI agent, does this for his partner Archuleta after Agent Sands, the corrupt CIA agent and one of the other protagonists, tells him about how Dr. Guevara tortured him to death.
- Martin empties a fifth of whiskey on his father's grave when he visits it in Grosse Pointe Blank. It's a rather bitter version of this trope, though, as it's implied his father was an alcoholic. He pours out the whiskey, drops the bottle on the grave and leaves.
- In Amazing Grace, one of the main characters, after winning a huge victory for anti-slavery, pours alcohol into (freed slave and emancipation activist) Equiano's grave, with the bittersweet line "I know you don't normally drink, but this is a special occasion."
- Cooley High - one of the main character starts to pour his beer out. When one of his friends protests, he says it's for "the homies that ain't here."
- Parodied in Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood, where Loc Dog names his homies as he pours his bottle over a fence... the camera then pans down to a knothole in the fence where you see he's actually pouring it over their bodies on the other side.
- Dr. Evil: "One for me, and one for my homies."
- In Ned, a parody of the Ned Kelly story, the villain (a British governor) takes a sip of tea and does the same as Dr Evil. It's a weird movie.
- In Boyz n the Hood, Doughboy pours out a little of his drink on the curb for his dead brother before its revealed that Doughboy himself is murdered not long after.
- The generals of Wu and Shu in Red Cliff pour wine onto the ground when their messenger to Cao Cao is murdered.
- The Gentlemen Bastards have a similar custom of "a glass poured to air" for absent or dead friends.
- In Dune, Duke Leto Atreides makes the toast "Review, friends - troops long past review" by pouring out a flagon of water onto the floor (note that water is worth its weight in gold on the desert planet of Arrakis).
- In Looking for Alaska, Pudge drops a cigarette in the creek after Alaska's death. The Colonel, Takumi and Lara follow suit.
- There's an interesting variant in the Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. Anna Madrigal is in the habit of taping a joint to the door of her tenants as a welcoming present. In the last chapter, she visits the grave of her former lover, and tapes a joint to his tombstone with the words: "Enjoy it. It's Columbian."
- Odysseus pours a libation for Hades and Persephone when he goes to the edge of the underworld. The spirits of the dead appear to try to drink it, and per Circe's instructions he stands guard over it until the spirit of Tiresias appears and drinks first. Tiresias advises Odysseus on how to return to Ithaca, and other spirits (including his own mother, who died from grief) speak to him before the crowd of dead becomes too large, and Odysseus with his men flees back to the ship.
- In the Discworld novel Reaper Man, Mrs. Cake literally does this with a glass of liquor for her spirit guide 'One-Man-Bucket'. Thus he gets the ghost of the drink, after she kills it by setting it on fire.
- There's also another Discworld moment where Moist von Lipwig bribes a priest of Offler with sausages. They normally roast the sausages so the god gets the "essence," while the high-ranking priests get to eat the meat (based on real-world religions, of course).
- This is the common practice in the world of Harry Turtledove 's Between the Rivers. In that world, ancestor spirits can talk to their grandchildren on a daily basis, so that the ghosts can just ask their people to pour a little beer on the ground for them, and express thanks when they get it.
- In the same spirit as Odysseus, Nico in Percy Jackson and the Olympians offers up a Happy Meal and soda to communicate with several dead people.
- In Robert E. Howard's "Beyond the Black River", when Conan the Barbarian is talking of Balthus's You Shall Not Pass, with the aid of a dog, he drinks to his memory and pours out the rest — smashing the cup as well.
- The Bible : And Jacob set up a Pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a Pillar of Stone; and he poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it. Genesis 35:14
Live Action TV
- Kim Shin does this for his dead brother in Korean Drama The Slingshot.
- Randy in My Name Is Earl pours some chocolate milk in the memory of an old shop teacher.
- One of Bret's friend pours some orange juice in Flight of the Conchords when Bret goes missing.
- In the Supernatural episode Bad Day at Black Rock a Mook pours beer on the floor of his apartment to mourn a fallen friend.
- Accidentally done in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Fire and Water." Daniel has died (for the first of many times in the series) and at his wake, Jack accidentally spills some beer on the floor while having a flashback of his death. Unknown whether this was intentional on the writers' part or not.
- In the Scrubs episode My Friend With Money JD and Turk are reminiscing about a college friend who died from alcohol poisoning and pour some of their coffee out in his memory.
- Joked about in Chappelle's Show.
- An episode of Martin had Martin and his friends stranded in his apartment and they have to ration their water. Coal tips out a bit saying "For brothers who ain't here." Martin tells him if he does it again. "you'll be a brother who ain't here!"
- Subverted in German Soap Opera Anna und die Liebe. The villain Gerrit Broda goes to the cemetery and talks in front of his fathers grave how he was never loved by him and how he always favoured his brother. He proceeds to "plant" (stomp) a flower pot into the ground and "water" (throw a bottle of vodka on) it.
- In the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Martok wants to share a toast with Captain Sisko and Admiral Ross when the Dominion War is won after a particularly bloody battle. Sisko and Ross pour their drinks onto the ground instead, as both libation and protest.
Martok: "Before you waste too many tears, remember, these are Cardassians lying dead at your feet. Bajorans would call this 'poetic justice'."
Sisko: "That doesn't mean I have to drink a toast over their bodies."
- Stephen Colbert commemorated the end of the Space Shuttle by pouring out some Tang onto his desk.
- Man v. Food has Adam pouring marinara sauce after his partner in a competition vomits outside, thus forfeiting the challenge.
- A Flashback episode of Suits cuts back occasionally to a minor subplot about present-day Harvey, who's taken a day off work for some unexplained reason, taking a train journey and buying a bottle of whiskey. In the course of the flashback plot, his father dies. At the end of the episode, we see him sharing the whiskey with his dad's tombstone.
- The music video of "The End of the Road" by Boyz II Men.
- "Six Feet Deep" by Geto Boys.
- Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, the titular character comes Back from the Dead, and Although he: "Smelled the Hennesy from when his niggas got reminded and poured out liquor in his memory...He couldn't sip it fast enough, so the liquor was just fillin' the casket up."
- "Pour Your 40 Out" by D-12
- "The Night that Paddy Murphy Died", by Great Big Sea.
- Pour Out A Little Liquor by 2Pac.
- Also mentioned in Life Goes On, another of 2Pac's songs.
- In the Music Video for "Brenda's Got a Baby," someone does this in memory of Brenda towards the end of the video.
- Ice Cube makes mention of it in his song Dead Homiez.
- The episode of Raw that followed Owen Hart's death, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin came down to the ring with two cans of beer. Saluting with one, he left the other in the centre of the ring "for Owen".
- The opening fiction from Geist: The Sin-Eaters is called "Rum is the Drink the Dead Like Best," for good reason. Likewise, the game mentions that Sin-Eaters often make use of ofrendas, gifts to the dead - usually booze, but can include cigars, candy, or hell money - to gain the trust of ghosts.
- Clytemnestra sends libations and gifts to Agamemnon's grave in bad faith in Electra, but Electra persuades Chrysothemis not to take them and so dishonour their father.
- Electra and her servants deliver offerings to Agamemnon's grave in the second part of the Oresteia trilogy, appropriately titled The Libation Bearers.
- Tech Romancer does this in the Wiseduck story mode if you chose the ending where the crew decided that they were human and lay the beatdown on the enemy. 10 Years later after the war, Alvin is the lone survivor and gives a libation to his now deceased crew.
- Comes up when you drink an ice cold fotie in Kingdom of Loathing, after first pouring out some for your homies in the Pasta 'Lean.
- Tilting a fotie in the Ancient Hobo Burial Grounds wakens the angry dead — angry about the wasted booze.
- One sidequest in Chrono Trigger requires you to pour sake on the traveller Toma's grave. This was changed to pop in the US release, and reverted in the re-translated DS version. Whatever the alcoholic content of the drink, though, pouring it on the grave reveals the location of the Giant's Claw, the dungeon that the treasure-hunting Toma had been seeking.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Sean Webley does this at the funeral of Daitetsu Minase, this is extra effective as a scene since they have been putting of having a celebratory drink together for the entire game as each new crisis interrupts them.
- In Wang Jinrei's Tekken 2 ending, Jinrei is seen emptying a bottle of sake on the grave of his long-deceased friend, Jinpachi Mishima, who would be revived as a monster against his will more than twenty years later.
- Done in one of the Bad Endings of the Code Geass Dating Sim Lost Colors. If Rai joins the Black Knights and dies in battle, Todou offers his respects by drinking sake in front of his tombstone.
- This is how you revive homies in Saints Row 1 & 2. You pour a 40 oz. on them, and they spring back to life. Quite humourous on homies who are on fire.
- Guile's ending in Super Street Fighter IV has him drinking beer and speaking to the grave of his best friend Charlie.
- Parodied in The Simpsons, in the episode where the family go to Florida during spring break. Kid Rock at concert has a large novelty bottle of beer - a 40 gallon bottle - which he pours to the memory of "friends not with us... back at home", and Homer tries to drink from it.
- In a The Buzz on Maggie episode, the other bugs pour some juice on the ground before a field trip in honour of Maggie, who has accepted a detention so the rest of the class can get their excursion.
- In Gravity Falls, Dipper does this when Tyrone drinks a soda, killing himself.
- Inverted Regular Show pour soda on their cart when they are about to send it to the junk yard, then the cart suddenly comes to life because of the soda.
- A subversion used to exist amongst sailors in the Mediterranean, back when people had all sorts of superstitions about what was in/on/near the ocean. To protect them from mermaids (who, in most myths, lean decidedly towards Tsundere or even outright Yandere), they would pour a glass of wine into the water, hoping to please any mermaids (and thus protect the sailors themselves from disaster.)
- Ceremonies in the Voodoo tradition typically involve pouring our libations of rum for the spirits of the dead, especially if guidance from or communion with said spirits is the objective.
- The ancient Greeks poured libations to their dead, and the practice is mentioned by their earliest writers.
- Swedish joke: two alcoholic friends discusses their love of alcohol.
Drunkard:"Oh, promise that when i die, you'll pour whiskey all over my grave"
Second drunkard:"Sure, i will. I will."
Second drunkard:'"I'm just gonna let it pass through my kidneys first."
- The Ancient Egyptians poured libations to the dead, or at least to dead kings, at least since Old Kingdom times.