In Voodoo, Voudoo or Voudoun, Baron Samedi is one of the five leaders of the Ghede nanchon, along with Maman Brigitte, Baron La Croix, Baron Kriminel and Baron Cimitiere. He is usually depicted with a top hat, black tuxedo, dark glasses, and cotton plugs in the nostrils, as if to resemble a corpse dressed and prepared for burial in the Haitian style.
He has a white, frequently skull-like face (or actually has a skull for a face) and speaks in a nasal voice.
He is a sexual Loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and – like other Loa of the Ghede nanchon – is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum.
Additionally, he is the Loa of sex and resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only Baron who can accept an individual into the realm of the dead.
Baron Samedi spends most of his time in the invisible realm of voodoo 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 crossroad between the worlds of the living and the dead. When someone dies he digs their grave and greets their soul after they have been buried, leading them 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 voodoo curses and black magic. Even if somebody has been afflicted by a hex which 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 all corpses rot in the ground to stop any soul 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 voodoo ceremony to help him cross over into this world.
Baron Samedi is one of the leaders of the Ghede, a nanchon of Loa with particular links to magic, ancestor worship and death. These lesser spirits, all dressed like the Baron, are all as rude and crude as their masters. They help carry the dead to the underworld.