The Rastafarianism Religion Began with the teachings of Marcus Garvey (1887- 1940), a black Jamaican who led a "Back to Africa" movement. Rastafari developed in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, In an environment of great poverty, depression, racism and class discrimination. The Rastafarian movement first became visible in Jamaica in the 1930’s.
In 1927 Garvey prophesied,“Look to Africa, for there a kingshall be crowned."
Ras Tafari Makonnen On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. At his coronation he took the name Haile Selassie, meaning "Might of the Trinity”. Selassie also took the titles, "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and King of the Kings of Ethiopia." Followers of Garveys teachings believed that Selassie is the messiah that had been predicted, and the return to Africa would begin. Rastafarians named their movement for Ras Tafari and regarded the emperor as the physical presence of God (Jah) on earth.
Emperor HaileSelassie I ofEthiopia,whosebirth namewas Ras TafariMakonnen.
A major event in Rastafarian history was Haile Selassies visit to Jamaica on April 21, 1966. He told the Rastafarians that they should not seek to immigrate to Ethiopia until they had liberated the people of Jamaica, a command that came to be known as "liberation before repatriation.“ April 21 is celebrated as a Rastafarian holiday. Selassie was deposed in 1974 in a military coup and kept under house arrest until he was apparently killed by his captors in 1975.
The Holy Text of Rastafarianism The Holy Piby is the holy text of rastas. It was compiled in 1913- 1917 and published in 1924 by Robert Athlyi Rogers of Anguilla. It is also known as the “Black Man’s Bible.” The Holy Piby is a version of the Christian Bible that has been altered to remove all the deliberate distortions that are believed to have been made by white leaders during its conversion to english.
Beliefs Jah was manifested on earth as Jesus, who Rastas believe was black. Rastas also believe in Old Testament prophets like Moses and Elijah. Rastafarians do not believe in the afterlife, but instead look to Africa, called "Zion" as a heaven on earth. True Rastas are believed to be immortal, both physically and spiritually, a concept called "ever living.”An important Rastafarian concept is "I and I.“ Another central concept is Babylon, which refers to the white power structure of Europe and the Americas. Rastas seek to resist Babylon.
Rastafarians are perhaps best known for their religious use of marijuana. Scriptural support is found especially in Psalm 104:14: "He causeth the grass for the cattle and herb for the service of man." Rastas also use marijuana for medicinal purposes, applying it to a variety of ailments including colds.
Rasta holidays November 2 - the coronation of Selassie January 6 - ceremonial birthday of Selassie April 21 - Selassies visit to Jamaica July 23 - Selassies personal birthday August 1 - emancipation from slavery August 17 - Marcus Garveys birthday
Rituals and Traditions One of the most visible practices of Rastafarians is the wearing of ones hair in dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have several purposes and layers of meaning for Rastafarians, including: the biblical command not to cut ones hair (Leviticus 21:5) the appearance of the lions mane, representing strength, Africa, Ethiopia, and the Lion of Judah naturalness and simplicity, which are associated with Africa the Rastas roots in Africa
Red, Gold and Green Red stands for the triumphant church of the Rastas as well as the blood of the martyrs in the black struggle for liberation. Gold represents the wealth of their African homeland. Green symbolizes Ethiopias beauty and lush vegetation. Black is often also included, representing the color of the Africans. Lion of Judah, which represents Haile Selassie as the King of Kings, Africa, and strength.
RastafarianFlagColours of Red,Green and Gold,with the Lion ofJudah.
Rituals and Traditions Continued The most observant Rastas follow a dietary law called Ital. Ital food is food which is completely natural (not canned and free of chemicals and preservatives) and eaten as raw as possible. Old Testament prohibitions against pork and shellfish are part of Ital. Rastafarians reject the use of alcohol, since it is a fermented chemical that does not belong in the temple of the body and it makes a person stupid.
Sects Of Rastafarianism There are three main sects of the Rastafarian religion: The Nyahbinghi Order Bobo Shanti The Twelve Tribes of Israel