Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Blessing refers to the act of calling on the divine to bestow protection, prosperity, health, peace, and, generally speaking, all manners of good fortune as defined by the community. In African religion, blessings are expected from God, the divinities, and the ancestors, the main actors of the benevolent African spiritual world. In as eminently religious a world as the African world, requests for blessing are numerous. Blessings can be personal or communal; they can occur in a formal or informal manner and setting, and they may concern all life matters. However, African people are most definitely concerned with life and with the process through which life sustains and regenerates itself—that is, fertility. Hence, one finds that fertility occupies a central and frequent place in appeals for blessings. Fertility not only involves human procreation, but also extends to land and animal reproduction and growth. Thus, rain, without which drought, famine, and ...