Baron Samedi

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Baron Samedi
Veve for Baron Samedi
Loa of the Death and Fertility
Venerated inHaitian Vodou, Louisiana Voodoo, Folk Catholicism
FeastNovember 2
AttributesRum, cigar, top hat, glasses with missing lens
PatronageDeath, tombs, gravestones, cemeteries, dead relatives, obscenities, healing, smoking, drinking, disruption, spirits
Depiction of Baron Samedi.
Cross of Baron La Croix

Baron Samedi (English: Baron Saturday), also written Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi or Bawon Sanmdi, is one of the lwa of Haitian Vodou. He is a lwa of the dead, along with Baron's numerous other incarnations Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix and Baron Criminel.

He is the head of the Gede family of lwa; his brothers are Azagon Lacroix and Baron Piquant and he is the husband of Maman Brigitte. Together, they are the guardians of the past, of history, and of heritage.[1]

Portrayal[edit]

Baron Samedi is usually depicted with a top hat, black tail coat, dark glasses, and cotton plugs in the nostrils, as if to resemble a corpse dressed and prepared for burial in the Haitian style. He is frequently depicted as a skeleton (but sometimes as a black man that merely has his face painted as a skull), and speaks in a nasal voice. The former President-for-Life of Haiti, François Duvalier, known as Papa Doc, modeled his cult of personality on Baron Samedi; he was often seen speaking in a deep nasal tone and wearing dark glasses.[2]

He is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum. Additionally, he is the loa of resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only the Baron that can accept an individual into the realm of the dead.[3][4]

Due to affiliation with François Duvalier, Baron Samedi is linked to secret societies in the Haitian government and includes them in his domain.[5]

Baron Samedi spends most of his time in the invisible realm of vodou 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 crossroads between the worlds of death and the living. When someone dies, he digs their grave and greets their soul after they have been buried, leading them to the underworld.

Connection to other loa[edit]

Baron Samedi is the leader of the Gede, loa with particular links to magic, ancestor worship and death.[6] These lesser spirits are dressed like The Baron and are as rude and crude but not nearly as charming as their master. They help carry the dead to the underworld.[7]

Activities[edit]

Among believers in Vodou, Baron Samedi is the master of the dead as well as a giver of life. He can cure mortals of any disease or wound so long as he thinks it is worthwhile. His powers are especially great when it comes to Vodou curses and black magic. Even if somebody has been afflicted by a hex that brings them to the verge of death, they will not die if The Baron refuses to dig their grave. So long as The Baron keeps them out of the ground, they are safe.

In many Haitian cemeteries the longest standing grave of male is designated as the grave of Baron Samedi. A cross (the kwa Bawon, meaning "Baron's cross") is placed at a crossroads in the cemetery to represent the point where the mortal and spiritual world cross. Often, a black top hat is placed on top of this cross.[8]

He also ensures that all corpses rot in the ground to stop any soul from being brought back as a 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;[citation needed] he may simply ask for a small gift of cigars, rum, black coffee, grilled peanuts, or bread. But sometimes The Baron requires a Vodou ceremony to help him cross over into this world.[citation needed]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Baron Samedi is revealed to be the true identity of Mambo Marie LeFleur, portrayed by Skye Marshall, in the fourth season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, introduced in the third season, developing a romantic relationship with Zelda Spellman.
  • Baron Samedi appears in the second season of American Gods, portrayed by Mustafa Shakir.
  • Baron Samedi appears in the Supernatural season five episode "Hammer of the Gods", portrayed by Precious Silburne. He is among the deities that meet at the Elysium Motel to discuss how to handle the threat of Lucifer. When Lucifer invades the Elysium Motel, Baron Samedi is among the deities killed.
  • Baron Samedi is one of the available player chapters of Atmosfear: The Harbingers - an Australian video board game designed by Brett Clements and Phillip Tanner and published by Mattel as a major update to the Atmosfear series.
  • Baron Samedi appears in three episodes of Grimm
  • In Heroes, a man known as "Baron Samedi" exists with the power of invulnerability and the brother of The Haitian. He was portrayed by Demetrius Grosse.
  • Baron Samedi appears in the season 7 MacGyver episode "Walking Dead"
  • Baron Samedi appears in the third season of American Horror Story, titled Coven, under the name of Papa Legba, portrayed by Lance Reddick. Dressed in top hat, black frock tails and dark glasses, his face is painted as a partial skull all in the traditional guise of Baron Samedi.
  • Baron Samedi is in the British mystery series "Father Brown" in season 4 episode 10 titled "The Wrath of Baron Samedi."

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Others[edit]

  • Baron Samedi has been adapted as two different characters in Marvel Comics.
  • One of the gods appearing in the comic book miniseries Loki: Ragnarok and Roll.
  • Inspired the character of Chimney Man in the musical Jelly's Last Jam.[10]
  • Baron Samedi appears as an entity in Cyberspace in Count Zero by William Gibson, the sequel to Neuromancer
  • A privilege escalation vulnerability caused by a heap-based buffer overflow in the computer program sudo was named "Baron Samedit" as a combination of "Baron Samedi" and sudoedit (the vulnerable application).[11][12][13][14]
  • Inspired the character of Papa Shango in the WWE portrayed by Charles Wright.
  • Baron Saturday, a character analogous with Baron Samedi, appeared in the novel Witches Abroad from Terry Pratchett's Discworld Series. Previously the ruler of Genua, he was murdered by Lady Lilith de Tempscire in order to enable a version of the Cinderella story to play out, but was resurrected as a zombie by Erzulie Gogol, a vodou witch and his former lover.
  • Baron Samedi appears as a playable character in the video board game Nightmare (1991), and hosts the game's first expansion (where he is played by Wenanty Nosul).[15]
  • Baron Saturday, who represents Baron Samedi, appears in the album S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things, where he takes the titular character on a trip through the Underworld and shows him horrible truths and revelations about his life.
  • Baron Samedi appears as a major character in the podcast Desperado. To save the life of Talia, one of the three main characters, he was granted her life and can possess her at any time.[16]
  • Baron Samedi is the title of a song by British rock band 10cc, appearing on their 1974 album, Sheet Music.
  • Baron Samedi is portrayed by Geoff Castellucci in VoicePlay's music video Queen in 5 Min, where he is introduced as "Baron, Dark Angel and Gatekeeper. Tool: Skull Cane" and gets a vocal feature in We Are the Champions. He is the final afterlife deity Earl banishes before returning to life.
  • Baron Samedi is discussed extensively in the four-part podcast titled Real Dictators: Papa Doc François Duvalier. Narrated by English actor Paul McGann, Duvalier and his purposeful adoption of Baron Samedi's dress, voice, and actions to frighten the Haitian people in order to further exploit them for his own political agenda.
  • Baron Samedi inspired the character of The Spirit of Jazz in the British comedy TV series The Mighty Boosh

References[edit]

  1. ^ Courlander, Harold (1944). Gods of the haitian mountains. journal of negro history.
  2. ^ thedictatorship.com/biographies/papadoc.htm
  3. ^ Conner, p. 83, "Baron Samedi"
  4. ^ Conner, p. 83, "
  5. ^ Taylor, Patrick (1992). "Anthropology and Theology in Pursuit of Justice". Callaloo. 15 (3): 811–823. doi:10.2307/2932023. ISSN 0161-2492. JSTOR 2932023. Archived from the original on 2021-10-05. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  6. ^ Conner, p. 157, "Ghede"
  7. ^ Creole religions of the Caribbean, Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. New York: NYU Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-8147-2720-1. Pg. 113 - 114
  8. ^ Hayes, Anne Marie; Robinson, Michelle (2001). "Instructional Resources Haitian Art: Exploring Cultural Identity". Art Education. 54 (1): 25–32. doi:10.2307/3193890. ISSN 0004-3125. JSTOR 3193890. Archived from the original on 2021-10-05. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  9. ^ "Baron Samedi A Closer Look". www.smitegame.com. Archived from the original on 2022-05-19. Retrieved 2023-03-17.
  10. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Gregory Hines, Tonya Pinkins, Jammin' on Broadway - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  11. ^ "CVE-2021-3156: Heap-Based Buffer Overflow in Sudo (Baron Samedit)". Qualys Security Blog. 2021-01-26. Archived from the original on 2021-02-14. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  12. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "Recent root-giving Sudo bug also impacts macOS". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 2021-02-10. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  13. ^ "New Linux SUDO flaw lets local users gain root privileges". BleepingComputer. Archived from the original on 2021-02-13. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  14. ^ February 2021, Barclay Ballard 03 (3 February 2021). "Sudo bug also found to affect macOS". TechRadar. Archived from the original on 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2021-02-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (7). Australia: Bambada Press: 16. Baron Samedi, the zombie, is named after the ancient Arawak Indian God of the Dead.
  16. ^ "Desperado Episode 3 Transcript" (PDF). Microsoft Word. Aeaea. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 7, 2021. Retrieved November 6, 2021.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Voodoo: Search for the Spirit, “Abrams Discoveries” series. Laënnec Hurbon. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1995. "Ghede"
  • A Dictionary of World Mythology. Arthur Cotterell. Oxford University Press, 1997. "Vodou".
  • The Voodoo Gods. Maya Deren. Granada Publishing Limited 1975.
  • Conner, Randy P.; Sparks, David Hatfield; Sparks, Mariya (1998). Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit. UK: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-70423-7.
  • Taylor, P. (1992). Anthropology and Theology in Pursuit of Justice. Callaloo, 15(3), 811–823. https://doi.org/10.2307/2932023
  • Hayes, A. M., & Robinson, M. (2001). Instructional Resources Haitian Art: Exploring Cultural Identity. Art Education, 54(1), 25–32. https://doi.org/10.2307/3193890

External links[edit]