Ghede Nibo

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In Haitian Vodou, Ghede Nibo was a handsome young man who was killed violently. After death, he was adopted as a spirit or Lwa by Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte and became a leader of the spirits of the dead. He is envisioned as an effeminate, nasal dandy. Nibo wears a black riding coat or drag. When he inhabits humans they are inspired to lascivious sexuality of all kinds.[1]

Function and depiction[edit]

Brav Ghede Nibo is a rada spirit,[2] considered a great healer. He is seen carrying a bottle of white rum infused with medicinal herbs. Often he also carries a staff and smokes a cigar. Nibo is the special patron of those who die young, and as such is often conflated with the Catholic saint Gerard Majella, who is depicted with a skull. He is a psychopomp, an intermediary between the living and the dead. He gives voice to the dead spirits that have not been reclaimed from "below the waters".

Service[edit]

Purple is considered his sacred color, and usual offerings include black goats, black roosters, calabash, cigars, coconut, fried plantains, pistachios, smoked herrings, sweet sesame balls, and white rum spiced with African bird pepper.[1]

Until recently, Haitian farmers would perform a praise song to Ghede Nibo each November. It involved phallic thrusts and other erotic gestures and was named "Massissi", a Haitian term for a homoerotically inclined male.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol & Spirit by Randy Conner, David Hatfield Sparks & Mariya Sparks. Cassell. London and New York. 1997
  2. ^ [1] Google books: Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora ed Carole Boyce Davies