Ghede, Haitian Lwa That Embody Powers of Death & Fertility

The Ghede (often spelled as Gede or Guédé) Lwa families in Haiti practice powers of life, death and fertility through Haitian Vodou. They serve as the intermediaries between the creator god or the good god (Bon Dieu or Bondye) and humanity.


Ghede means 'the sacred dead'. "Lwa" often referred as 'Mystères and the Invisibles'-- are the spirits of Haitian Vodou. Fete Ghede or Gede Festival is a past-honoring event also known as the 'Festival of the Ancestors' performed on Second November every year in the honor of the 'Lord of the Dead'. It is the day to repay the boons granted by Ghede otherwise they will take revenge on you. During the ceremonies of Fete Ghede, there is always a spiritual procession to the cemetery. The women spiritual adepts are called 'mambos' and their male counterparts are known as 'houngans'. They join drummers and singers at the festivals and pray at a cross rising from a tomb; summon the spirits before the party begins.

Ghede Lwa is famous for their magical occult power to heal, prophesize and protect people from perils. 'Ghede Linto' is a Lwa that performs miracles, the spirit of 'Ghede Loraj' saves people from storm, 'Ghede Doubye' endows people with the gift of clairvoyance and 'Brav Ghede Nibo' is considered as a great healer. 'Papa Ghede' is the spirit of the first man who ever died. He is the "guide of souls" who smokes cheap cigars and eats apples. He waits at the crossroads and takes souls into the afterlife. Similarly there are many other characters among the Ghede Lwa, such as 'Baron Kriminel' (first murderer), 'Maman Brigitte' ("Mother Bridget") who is the protector of crosses and gravestones, 'Ghede Masaka' (male gravedigger and spirit of the dead, recognized by his white jacket, black shirt, and white headscarf).

Haiti has a population around 10 million of which 90% are Catholic and 100% voodoo or they believe in Ghede and Lwa. Voodoo or Voh-doon is a religion that came from the captive slaves brought from Angola, Dahomey, Yorubaland and Congo during the period of African slave trade. Since the African religious practices are the combined products of many cultures and rituals from many geographical areas, their theological histories are mostly obscure.

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