The Celebration Of Haiti's Day Of The Dead

Haitians may not celebrate Halloween but they do have a holiday called Ghede. This is the day of the dead, when Haitians remember their deceased relatives and ancestors every November 2. Some Haitians describe Ghede as a New Year celebration for the dead because of the festivities and activities during the holiday.


Ghede is a huge part of the Vodun tradition, which calls for celebration and tribute to Ghede spirits. Baron Samedi is the God of Death and the leader of Ghede spirits, which are among the pantheon of Gods called as Loa. Haitians pay their respects to Baron Samedi, who they see as the wisest adviser, protector of children and the last hope of the sick.

During the holiday, Haitians often start the celebration by going to church and praying in the morning. After this, they will go home to change outfits. They will wear clothes with colors associated with the Ghedes such as black, white and purple. Many people are also donning costumes involving the regalia of Ghede spirits, as well as Baron Samedi's signature top hat and dark glasses. Others also paint half of their faces with white and then put black around the eye.

People who celebrate Ghede converge at the town cemetery and clean the tombs of their relatives and ancestors. It's a common practice to leave food on the tombs to remember the dead. A celebratory party starts after the mambos (women) and the hougans (men) prayed at a cross protruding from a tomb while accompanied by singers and drummers.

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Read more: Voodoo, Halloween, Ghede, Day of the Dead, Special Date, Lwa, Newsletter Articles, Voodoo

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