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Haitians celebrate Festival of the Dead

| Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, 6:18 a.m.
In this Oct. 27, 2018 photo, Mimose Bernard, a voodoo believer, invokes a 'Gede' spirit during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bernard invokes every year the Gede spirit since October 1st to November 2 and during these weeks she walks the backstreets between shacks built with metal sheets at the slum, to perform voodoo rituals to other residents. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 27, 2018 photo, Mimose Bernard, a voodoo believer, invokes a 'Gede' spirit during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bernard invokes every year the Gede spirit since October 1st to November 2 and during these weeks she walks the backstreets between shacks built with metal sheets at the slum, to perform voodoo rituals to other residents. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 2, 2018 photo, Frantz Lindor, left, a voodoo believer, rests with his mate in a voodoo temple during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits and got possessed by them. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 2, 2018 photo, Frantz Lindor, left, a voodoo believer, rests with his mate in a voodoo temple during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits and got possessed by them. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit dance in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The characteristics of this traditional celebration, the flamboyant customes and the white-powdered faces of the priests in trance inspired some of the first Hollywood stories about zombies. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit dance in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The characteristics of this traditional celebration, the flamboyant customes and the white-powdered faces of the priests in trance inspired some of the first Hollywood stories about zombies. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer walks to Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The most respected along the Fete Gede is Baron Samedi, a lewd representation of life and death, who runs the gate of the Guiné (a kind of Heaven) wearing a black suit and top hat while drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and following young ladies in a provocative manner. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer walks to Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The most respected along the Fete Gede is Baron Samedi, a lewd representation of life and death, who runs the gate of the Guiné (a kind of Heaven) wearing a black suit and top hat while drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and following young ladies in a provocative manner. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, meals and flowers sits on the ground of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Accompanied by the priests, the believers, some of them also wearing the loas' clothes, make their annual visit to cemeteries in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country to honor the spirits by offering coffee and meals to the dead loved ones and to the black cross that represents Baron Samedi. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, meals and flowers sits on the ground of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Accompanied by the priests, the believers, some of them also wearing the loas' clothes, make their annual visit to cemeteries in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country to honor the spirits by offering coffee and meals to the dead loved ones and to the black cross that represents Baron Samedi. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 30, 2018 photo, Mimose Bernard, a voodoo believer poses for a picture as she invokes a 'Gede' spirit, before Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 'I remember that I was 10-years-old when I first invoked the Gede spirit', says Bernard who lives with her child in a tiny home that was built with old metal sheets, where some images of voodoo are part of the decoration and her bed with some clothes holding full the room. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 30, 2018 photo, Mimose Bernard, a voodoo believer poses for a picture as she invokes a 'Gede' spirit, before Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 'I remember that I was 10-years-old when I first invoked the Gede spirit', says Bernard who lives with her child in a tiny home that was built with old metal sheets, where some images of voodoo are part of the decoration and her bed with some clothes holding full the room. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 27, 2018 photo, Atesi Auguste, a voodoo priestess, sits as she sells fried meat and bananas and she watches Mimose Bernard who issupposed to be possessed the Gede spirit, during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 'I have thirty years in having Gede spirit manifested in my head', said Auguste. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 27, 2018 photo, Atesi Auguste, a voodoo priestess, sits as she sells fried meat and bananas and she watches Mimose Bernard who issupposed to be possessed the Gede spirit, during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 'I have thirty years in having Gede spirit manifested in my head', said Auguste. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 2, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit performs rituals near Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a proof that they got into trance and their bodies got possessed by Gedes, they drink and wash their faces, their eyes and even their genitals with a mixture of raw rum and hot chili peppers that, according to believers, could burn the skin of any human alive. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 2, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit performs rituals near Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a proof that they got into trance and their bodies got possessed by Gedes, they drink and wash their faces, their eyes and even their genitals with a mixture of raw rum and hot chili peppers that, according to believers, could burn the skin of any human alive. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit walk in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits.( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit walk in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits.( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals in the middle of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits.( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals in the middle of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Every year, during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear the loas' clothes, travel the narrowly pathways through the shanty town and go to cemeteries to pay tribute to the spirits.( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with a Gede spirit, performs rituals near Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The characteristics of this traditional celebration, the flamboyant customes and the white-powdered faces of the priests in trance inspired some of the first Hollywood stories about zombies. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with a Gede spirit, performs rituals near Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The characteristics of this traditional celebration, the flamboyant customes and the white-powdered faces of the priests in trance inspired some of the first Hollywood stories about zombies. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Along the celebration, which starts on October and has its climax on November 1st and 2, the believers wear the distinctive clothes of their Loas or Gedes, the creol generic name for the spirits. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, voodoo believers who are supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals in the middle of the street during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Along the celebration, which starts on October and has its climax on November 1st and 2, the believers wear the distinctive clothes of their Loas or Gedes, the creol generic name for the spirits. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals on Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Baron Samedi is also considered by Haitian voodooists as the wisest adviser, protector of children and the last hope for the sick. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a voodoo believer who is supposed to be possessed with Gede spirit perform rituals on Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Baron Samedi is also considered by Haitian voodooists as the wisest adviser, protector of children and the last hope for the sick. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a human skull sits on top of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. With the faces covered with white-powder, wearing hats and black, white and purple clothes, voodoo believers in Haiti walk through the streets and visit the cemeteries along the country during the Fete Gede, a celebration of the spirits equivalent to the Roman Catholic festivity of the Day of All Saints. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Nov. 1, 2018 photo, a human skull sits on top of Baron Samedi's tomb during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. With the faces covered with white-powder, wearing hats and black, white and purple clothes, voodoo believers in Haiti walk through the streets and visit the cemeteries along the country during the Fete Gede, a celebration of the spirits equivalent to the Roman Catholic festivity of the Day of All Saints. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 31, 2018 photo, Raynold Alexandre, a voodoo priest, who is supposed to be possessed the Gede spirit, drinks with his daughter Darline Alexandre, also voodoo priestess, during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Alexandre and his wife Auguste are well known voodoo priests and three of their six children are also voodoo priests. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Oct. 31, 2018 photo, Raynold Alexandre, a voodoo priest, who is supposed to be possessed the Gede spirit, drinks with his daughter Darline Alexandre, also voodoo priestess, during Haiti's annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede, in Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Alexandre and his wife Auguste are well known voodoo priests and three of their six children are also voodoo priests. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Dressed in black, white and purple, revelers in Haiti visit cemeteries during the country's annual Fete Gede, or the Festival of the Dead.

The celebration of spirits, which is often held during the first two days of November, coincides with the Roman Catholic festivities of All Saints' Day.

It's an intricate affair.

During the festival, believers dress up as Gede spirits known as “Loas” and say they become possessed by those who hear their prayers and provide favors to members of their congregation.

“The Gede spirit has manifested in my head for 30 years,” says Atesi Auguste, who sells fried food in the streets of Cite Soleil, one of the most crowded, poorest and violent slums on the outskirts of the capital.

Auguste and her husband, Raynold Alexandre, are well known voodoo priests in the slum, and three of their six children are priests, too.

Every year during the celebration, they paint their faces with white powder, wear special clothes and walk through the shantytown's narrow pathways to pay tribute to the spirits.

They also drink and wash their faces, eyes and even genitals with a mixture of rum and hot chili peppers, and offer coffee, food, rum, music and dances to their deceased loved ones and Baron Samedi, the ruler of the graveyard.

Among all the Loas, Baron Samedi is one of the most respected and is said to be the protector of children and last hope for the sick. He is often depicted drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and following young women in a provocative manner.

Mimose Bernard, a 44-year-old believer, performs voodoo rituals for other residents in the slum from the beginning of October to Nov. 2. She says Baron Samedi is a good spirit who helped protect her with good health and good luck.

“I remember that I was 10 years old when I first invoked the Gede spirit,” said Bernard, who lives with her child in a tiny home built from old metal sheets.

By DIEU NALIO CHERY, Associated Press

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