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Baron Samedi, also written Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi, or Bawon Sanmdi, is one of the loa of Haitian Vodou. Samedi is a loa of the dead, along with Baron’s numerous other incarnations Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix, and Baron Kriminel. He is syncretized with Saint Martin de Porres.
Bawon Samdi is considered to be wise because he holds knowledge of the dead and the outer world. The first male buried in a cemetery is said to become the manifestation of Bawon Samdi, guardian of the cemetery; the first female becomes the manifestation of Bawon Samdi’s wife, Gran Brijit. When Bawon Samdi ventures out of the kingdom of the dead, he must wear dark or coloured glasses to protect his eyes from the bright light. However, he frequently takes out the right lens to see the world of the living while the other lens allows him to keep an eye on the realm of the dead. It is also said that with his right eye he watches his food, as Bawon Samdi is notorious for his formidable appetite. He even makes his own liquor: raw kleren, a form of cheap rum, steeped in 21 hot peppers, which renders it so spicy that no other lwa can bear to drink it.
Death. If you think that it means the end, then allow me to introduce you to someone.
You thought it was all over, but Baron Samedi is going to change your mind. The only fire here is in the water, so share a drink with him. Let the sights and sounds entrance you. Join the celebration, feel your pulse pounding so hard you’ve forgotten your heart stopped beating.
Forget what you think you know. There is a life after death, and Baron Samedi will be your guide. So come along and let Baron Samedi show you the wonders of a whole new world, and that even a god of death can be the life of the party.
Bawon Samdi sometimes comes to earth as a ragtag beggar, but he usually wears formal attire, which includes a top hat, a tailcoat, and a long black cane complete with a skull handle. Although his dress may indicate otherwise, he is a trickster, and he spends much of his time engaging in lewd, licentious behaviour as he ridicules those who take themselves too seriously. Bawon’s presence is a constant reminder to those in the land of the living that all must succumb in the end to Bawon, ruler of the afterlife.
Bawon Samdi smokes strong cigarettes and drinks, in addition to kleren, black coffee, vodka, or gin. His favourite foods are black goats and black roosters. His symbols are a skeleton, a coffin, a black cross, and farm implements. Like Gran Brijit, Bawon is associated with the colours black, purple, and white. Because they live in cemeteries or in hidden locations, their realm is the earth.