Open main menu

Ghede Nibo is a loa who is leader of the spirits of the dead in Haitian Vodou. Formerly human, Ghede Nibo was a handsome young man who was killed violently. After death, he was adopted as a loa by Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte. He is envisioned as an effeminate, nasal dandy. Nibo wears a black riding coat or drag. When he inhabits humans they are inspired to lascivious sexuality of all kinds.[1]

Ghede Nibo
Venerated inHaitian Vodou, Folk Catholicism
AttributesBlack coat, top hat, staff, cigar, rum, skull, obscenities
PatronageGravestones, cemeteries


Function and depictionEdit

Brav Ghede Nibo is a rada spirit,[2] considered a great healer. He is seen carrying a bottle of white rum infused with medicinal herbs. Often he also carries a staff and smokes a cigar. Nibo is the special patron of those who die young, and as such is often conflated with the Catholic saint Gerard Majella, who is depicted with a skull. He is a psychopomp, an intermediary between the living and the dead. He gives voice to the dead spirits that have not been reclaimed from "below the waters". He is the guardian of the graves of those who died prematurely, particularly those whose final resting place is unknown. His chevals ("horses", possessed devotees) can give voice to the dead spirits whose bodies have not been found or that have not been reclaimed from "below the waters".


Purple is considered his sacred color, and usual offerings include black goats, black roosters, calabash, cigars, coconut, fried plantains, pistachios, smoked herrings, sweet sesame balls, and white rum spiced with African bird pepper.[1]

Until recently, Haitian farmers would perform a praise song to Ghede Nibo each November. It involved phallic thrusts and other erotic gestures and was named "Massissi", a Haitian term for a "homoerotically inclined male".[1]

References in Western popular cultureEdit

The Disney villain character Dr. Facilier in the animated fim The Princess and the Frog is loosely modelled on Ghede Nibo.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Randy Conner, David Hatfield Sparks & Mariya Sparks (eds), Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol & Spirit, London and New York: Cassell, 1997.
  2. ^ Carole Boyce Davies (ed.), Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora, ABC-CLIO, 2008, p. 963.