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Baron Samedi (folklore)

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Baron Samedi (also known as Baron Saturday, Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi, Samedi, and/or Bawon Sanmdi) is one of the Loa of Haitian Voodoo religion. Samedi is a Loa of the dead, along with Baron's numerous other incarnations Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix, and Baron Kriminel.

He is the head of the Guédé family of Loa, or an aspect of them, or possibly their spiritual father. 'Samedi' means 'Saturday' in French. His wife is the Loa Maman Brigitte. Although technically a deity rather than a "villain" he is often seen in negative or amoral light in media due to a great fear and/or misunderstanding of "Voodoo" by those outside the religion.

Even to those who follow Voodoo the Baron is seen as a dangerous spirit, however he can also be a powerful guardian if the mood suits him - due to the sudden changes in his mood and the Western world viewing Voodoo as a "black magic" he has been labelled both a demon and a god, depending on one's view of the world.

He is usually depicted with a top hat, black tuxedo, dark glasses, and cotton plugs in the nostrils, as if to resemble a corpse dressed and prepared for burial in the Haitian style. He has a white, frequently skull-like face (or actually has a skull for a face) and speaks in a nasal voice. He is a sexual Loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum. Additionally, he is the Loa of sex and resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only Baron who can accept an individual into the realm of the dead.

Veve of Baron Samedi

Veve of Baron Samedi.

Baron Samedi spends most of his time in the invisible realm of voodoo spirits. He is notorious for his outrageous behavior, swearing continuously and making filthy jokes to the other spirits. He is married to another powerful spirit known as Maman Brigitte, but often chases after mortal women. He loves smoking and drinking and is rarely seen without a cigar in his mouth or a glass of rum in his bony fingers. Baron Samedi can usually be found at the crossroad between the worlds of the living and the dead. When someone dies he digs their grave and greets their soul after they have been buried, leading them to the underworld.

Baron Samedi is the leader of the Guédé, Loa with particular links to magic, ancestor worship and death. These lesser spirits, all dressed like the Baron, are all as rude and crude as their master. They help carry the dead to the underworld.

As well as being master of the dead, Baron Samedi is also a giver of life. He can cure any mortal of any disease or wound, if he thinks it is worthwhile. His powers are especially great when it comes to voodoo curses and black magic. Even if somebody has been afflicted by a hex which brings them to the verge of death, they will not die if the Baron refuses to dig their grave. So long as this mighty spirit keeps them out of the ground they are safe. He also ensures all corpses rot in the ground to stop any soul being brought back as a brainless zombie. What he demands in return depends on his mood. Sometimes he is content with his followers wearing black, white or purple clothes or using sacred objects; he may simply ask for a small gift of cigars, rum, black coffee, grilled peanuts or bread. But sometimes the Baron requires a voodoo ceremony to help him cross over into this world.


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