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Veve for Baron Samedi
|Loa of death and fertility|
|Venerated in||Haitian Vodou, Louisiana Voodoo, Folk Catholicism|
|Attributes||Rum, cigar, top hat, glasses with missing lens|
|Patronage||Death, tombs, gravestones, cemeteries, dead relatives, obscenities, healing, smoking, drinking, disruption, spirits|
Baron Samedi (English: Baron Saturday) 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.
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, modelled his cult of personality on Baron Samedi; he was often seen speaking in a deep nasal tone and wearing dark glasses.
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.
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 loas
Baron Samedi is the leader of the Guédé, loa with particular links to magic, ancestor worship and death. 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.
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 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 this mighty spirit keeps them out of the ground, they are safe.
He also ensures that all corpses rot in the ground to stop any soul from 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 vodou ceremony to help him cross over into this world.
- Voodoo: Search for the Spirit, “Abrams Discoveries” series. Laennec 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.
Appearances in popular culture
- The character of Samedi in the Jesse Ball novel Samedi the Deafness has direct ties to Baron Samedi.
- He has a few brief cameos in the 2001 novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman both as himself and while he possesses a goth girl, presumably due to her ownership of a silk top-hat.
- "Baron Saturday" is a featured character in the Terry Pratchett novel Witches Abroad, and fairly direct references are made to the mythos of the Baron near the end of the novel. Another allusion is made in the joint effort of Pratchett and Gaiman, Good Omens, in which a racist witchhunter mentions voodoo priests who worship a 'Baron Saturday'.
- In Grant Morrison's The Invisibles series, the spirit of Baron Samedi is housed in the body of one of the Invisible Agents, Jim Crow
- In Russell Banks's 1985 Novel Continental Drift, the Voodun religion and the Loas play an important role. The loas of Ghede are personified as Baron Cimetière. He plays a crucial role in the novel's climax.
- In Richard Morgan's sci-fi novel Broken Angels, Baron Samedi haunts the main character during hallucinations.
- In William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, The structure of Voudun are used by several 'free entities' in the Matrix to communicate with a group of African-American arcology dwellers. It is implied that at the climax of Count Zero, Bobby Newmark is 'possessed' by one such agent (or aspect of a single multifacted agent) calling itself 'Baron Samedi', although the method by which this happens is not explained.
- In Walter Mosley's novel Gone Fishin', he's mentioned by Easy Rawlins, as the characters walk into bayou land.
- In the comic book Miracleman, a postmodern take on superhero lore by Alan Moore, the sapphire-toothed government assassin Evelyn Cream begins to have visions and nightmares about Baron Samedi, his grandfather's patron, after seeing Miracleman wade through a group of SAS troops. These visions continue until his death, at which time the Baron taps him on the shoulder and tips his hat to him.
- In Philip Pullman's The Broken Bridge
- Baron Samedi appears as a guide in the hell-like underworld of Philip Jose Farmers's Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels set in "The Dungeon."
- Baron Sunday is the spirit guide of the character Marcia in the play A Moutoverful of Birds by Caryl Churchill and David Lan.
- Appears as Blackbeard's loa in Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides.
- The character Papa Ghuede/Jim Crow in Grant Morrison's 'The Invisibles' is clearly based on Baron Samedi. See http://www.barbelith.com/bomb/1_10.htm
- Monty Kipps in Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" is an expert on Caribbean "Primitives" and his daughter feels a little overwhelmed by his personal collection.
- In passing in John Brunner's "The Shockwave Rider", 1975.
- Baron Samedi appears as a main character in the online comic The Modern Edda
- Baron Samedi is mentioned in Graham Greene's "The Comedians"
- Baron Samedi is mentioned in Will Self's "How the Dead Live", 2000 and "The Book of Dave", 2006.
- Baron Samedi competes in the 'Pantheon Games', in the fictional comic series Brathalla.
- Baron Samedi is mentioned in the James Bond novel Live and Let Die.
- The Baron also appears in White Wolf's Vampire The Masquerade as an ancient vampire who heads a bloodline ( or group) of vampires who resemble skeletons and cadavers.
Film, TV and entertainment
- In 2013 Lance Reddick portrayed Baron Samedi (misrepresented as Papa Legba) in American Horror Story: Coven [Season 3]. He next appears in AHS: Apocalypse [Season 8] in 2018.
- An unnamed character leading a nightly funeral procession while firing gunshots is dressed in the attire of Baron Samedi at the beginning of the horror film Serpent and the Rainbow.
- Baron Samedi appears as a character in the James Bond novel and film Live and Let Die. He also makes an appearance in the N64 game Goldeneye 007.
- Baron Samedi appears in the blaxploitation film Sugar Hill (1974).
- Baron Samedi appears as a character in the 2007 film Cadavarella
- Baron Samedi also appears in MacGyver episode 131, "The Walking Dead."
- He is a character in the 1985 Miami Vice episode "Tale of the Goat"
- The WWE wrestler "Papa Shango" (Charles Wright) was obviously inspired by Baron Samedi.
- Appeared as an old man & a young boy in the "Deptford Voodoo" episode of British cult TV series Urban Gothic.
- As Baron Saturday, he appears in American Gods as an occultist and bar owner living in the French quarter of New Orleans with his consort Maman Brigitte. The leprechaun Mad Sweeney employs him to bring the revenant Laura Moon back to life in order to retrieve his lucky coin. Baron Saturday was played by Mustafa Shakir.
- As himself in season 2 episode 8 of ABC's Cloak and Dagger
- (2013) Papa Tunde is a character on the CW’s ‘The Originals’, a spin-off of another popular series ‘The Vampire Diaries’. Papa Tunde is inspired by and in the image of Baron Samedi, although wrongfully compared to Papa Legba. He makes his first appearance s1 ep12 when a New Orleans witch draws power from human sacrifice to resurrect him and enact revenge.
- Baron Saturday was also an important character in The Pretty Things' rock opera S.F. Sorrow.
- He is also a character in the King Diamond's album Voodoo. King Diamond's appearance bears a marked resemblance to that of Baron Samedi.
- A painting of Baron Samedi is on the cover of the Dr. John album Creole Moon.
- Appears in the lyrics of the song "Lover of the Bayou" by the Byrds on the double album "Untitled," first released in 1970: "Baron Samedi is on your tail."
- Appears in the lyrics of the song "Pariah" by Danielle Dax: "Baron Samedi as only saviour, disturbed from slumber to walk alone."
- The rock band 10cc released a song called Baron Samedi on their album Sheet Music
- The metal band Ghoul introduced a character named Baron Samedi, a self-described "Houngan Priest" on their 2006 album Splatterthrash
- Italian metal band Death SS has a song called Baron Samedi in the album Do What Thou Wilt
- Baron Samedi is the inspiration behind a dancehall/dub/jungle night called 'The Samedi Lodge' out of which arose the mashup sounds of "Samedi Sound System"
- Baron Samedi is a nickname of a famous British rapper (lps - Spit Happens, Ripping Yarns)
- A figure resembling the classic Haitian representation of Baron Samedi appears in the music video for the song "Voodoo" by the band Godsmack.
- Mentioned in the lyrics to "Lover of the Bayou" by The Byrds.
- German band Kante features an instrumental track called Baron Samedi on their 2004 album Zombi.
- American composer Donald Grantham has written a work for wind ensemble based on the Baron Samedi mythos entitled Baron Samedi's Sarabande and Softshoe.
- A Baron Samedi-esque character features in the video for the song "Who Do You Love?" by The Meteors.
- Samedi is referenced in the Blue Oyster Cult rock opera 'Imaginos'
- At the end of the music video Voodoo people by dance music innovators The Prodigy, vocalist Maxim Reality is seen with a skull painted on his face. This seems to be a reference to the classical appearance of Baron samedi, as featured in the James Bond movie Live and let Die.
- Baron Samedi is named in the song "The Loa's Crossroad" by Volbeat.
- Baron Samedi is mentioned in the song “Who do you Voodoo?” by Josef “J7” Lord & Christopher H. Knight; from the popular game “Dead Island”.
- Baron Samedi is a featured character in the 1991 video board game Nightmare, which was known as Atmosfear in the UK. He is played by Atmosfear veteran Wenanty Nosul, who also portrayed the infamous 'Gatekeeper'.
- Baron Samedi appears in the 1999 PC Game Nocturne, as a Voodoo Loa who shares the body with the character Scat Dazzle. He resurrects his "host" using the man's own blood after being given rum and a cigar.
- He makes an appearance as a boss and playable character in the James Bond-based videogames Goldeneye 007, Nightfire, and Everything or Nothing.
- The character Jaunty of the voodoo-themed survival horror game Shadow Man is visually based on Baron Samedi, bearing both a skull face and a top hat.
- Baron Samedi appears in the 1998 game 'Akuji the Heartless'. He guides the main character through the vestibules of the underworld.
- He appears as a demonic being which can be summoned by the Sprawlers in the game Dark Reign 2.
- Baron Samedi is a figure for the Goblin Pirate army in the fantasy table top miniature games by Rackham.
- Baron Samedi also appears as a supervillain in the Freedom City, a superhero campaign setting for the role playing game Mutants & Masterminds Here, he is said to be bonded to a Haitian drug dealer named Simon DuLac.
- There is a Vampire: The Masquerade vampire clan known as the Samedi, with Baron Samedi thought to be the creator of this clan. They dress as he does, very regally, have deathly, coprse-like countenances (as opposed to many other vampires in the game), and base their operations out of Haiti.
- The Baron appears in Scion, a pen and paper RPG from White Wolf, Inc. as a God in the Loa pantheon.
- Baron Samedi is a playable God in SMITE
- The Sons of Samedi are a faction in Saints Row 2, and their second in command is a voodoo priest named Mr. Sunshine. He summons loa spirits in his boss fight.
- A fictional character in World of Warcraft called Bwonsamdi which is a powerful loa that controls the spirits of the dead, primarily of trolls.
- The Baron is a unique helmet in the video game Path of Exile and is a reference to wrestler Papa Shango.