If you are close to my age or maybe a little older you might recall Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy singing and performing a song: ♫ -- ♫ Babaloo Babaloo ♫ -- ♫
Maybe not understanding that he was honoring and giving homage to a the West African Deity of Poverty and Infirmities. Babalu Aye is the Orisha of disease and healing. He is represented as a beggar in sackcloth and walks with the aid of crutches and two dog familiars by his side.
Babalu carries a small bag filled with corn is slung across his chest said to represent his impoverished representation.
In Santeria/Lukumi and Hoodoo he is represented by Saint Lazarus, who came back from the dead.
He is a most powerful Orisha and can give wealth, health and prosperity to his followers. He is usually associated with smallpox, leprosy and other skin diseases. In modern times, he is associated with AIDS, Ebola and other deadly often incurable diseases and people pray to him for life and miracles.
It is said that Babalu Aye was punished by Olofi for laying with a woman on a Holy Day and thus violating the sacred. He was killed and only brought back to life by the pleading of Oshun. In anger Babalu Aye is quick and terrible, a most formidable enemy.
His number is seventeen (a master number of divination and completion) and his colors lavender, black and brown represent his intra-changeable class status and position. He is dressed in burlap adorned by many cowry shells representing his mastery over wealth beyond materialism.