There are many different families in voodoo and each Loa belongs in one of them. The Ghede are the family of death, who are responsible for the souls of the dead. But they do not only mean death, they are also meaning rebirth, fertility, circle of life and protection. The family members are said to be loud, rude, honest and really fun. They love music, especially good rhythm, drum or jazz music and to party with their friends and family.
Papa Ghede is the corpse of the first man, who ever died, thats what the people say. He is more like the first spirit, who ever got the power to exist beyond the otherworld and has the ability to create. He is the head of the family Ghede and he loves apples, especially the red ones. He often wears a high hat, an old but nice suit and has a cheap cigar in the corner if his mouth. He guides the souls in the otherworld and waits for them at crossroads. He has a very extreme sense of humor and can read others minds, so he always knows, what is going on in the world, in this and the other.
Also members of the family are Baron Samedi and his wife Maman Brigitte, and there are 3 more Barons, who are children of Papa Ghede and the brothers of Samedi. Brigitte and all four Barons are the guardians of the graveyards and the graves. They work together, with black magic, they have a special connection to every ancestor and their death. Besides Samedi (which means Saturday) there is also Baron La Croix, Baron Cimitière and Baron Kriminel.
Baron La Croix (Cross)
Baron La Croix is the Loa of the dead and sexuality. He often wears a black tailcoat and he is carring an elegant cane. He helps the dead to remember the delights of life’s pleasures and to keep their individuality. He is very cultured and well spoken – loves to philosophize about death and finding death absurd and humorous.
Baron Cimitière (Cementry)
Baron Cimitière especially protects the male souls on the graveyard. His counterpart is Maman Brigitte, who protects especially the women and children. He has an expensive taste, loves to smoke expensive cigars and to drink wine or fine liquor. He was the former guardian of the gate between the living world and the other world, but Papa Ghede recently decided to give this job someone other, to learn a lesson. Cimitière was not sad about that, so he could spend more time with his brothers and sisters. And of course a good wine.
Baron Kriminel (Criminal)
Baron Kriminel is the most feared Loa from all Barons. He was the first spirit, who ever killed someone. He is the protector of the murderer and the criminals. He is difficult and only Papa Ghede can really manage his temper. He is often very obscene, spit a lot and tries to stab the people around him for fun.
The Barons were all created by Papa Ghede, but are not the only children of him, but the closest. They were a part of him and still are, in a way. They represent the different aspects and characteristics of Papa Ghede, but with time, they became their own individual beings. All other Loas in the Ghede Family employ with the different aspects of life and death.
The other Families are Family Petro and Family Rada. Petro Loa are war spirits, they are more violent and freedom seeking. Rada Loa have a beneficent personality and loathe rudeness or violence.