||Who are Rastafarians?Have you ever found yourself wondering this when you see men or women with dreadlocks in their hair? Have you ever wondered what their religion represents and even if it is truly a religion at all? Well, I know some things about the Rastafarian religion that I would like to share.
BELIEFS & PRACTICES
The flag to the left is called "The Lion of Judah Flag" and it represents the entire Rastafarian religion.Rastafarians are actually incredibly religous people. The Rastafari reject the Babylonian hypocrisy of the modern church. The church of Rome is the church that they reject the most, partly because it represents the zenith of hypocrisy that they want nothing to do with and partly because Italy tried to take over and colonize Ethiopia in 1935 under the command of the evil Mussolini. (Rastafarians are extremely attached to the culture and heritage of Ethiopia.)
THE HISTORY & MARCUS GARVEY
Marcus Garvey was born in St.Ann, Jamaica in 1887 and founded the United Negro Improvement Association in his adulthood. Marcus Garvey wholly believed that Ethiopia was a country of salvation for impoverished black people of the world because during the reign of the black emporer Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia was a strong, flourishing country and this represented that despite trials and tribulations, blacks could belong to and run strong countries. It is often said that Marcus Garvey once said: "Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King. He shall be the Redeemer." In this statement, Marcus Garvey was talking about none other than Haile Selassie I. The name "Rastafari" came about through the leader of Ethiopia. Haile Selassi was born Tafari Makonnen in 1892. "Ras" is the Ethiopian word for "King", and this is where the name RAS-TAFARI was taken from to eventually become the religion Rastafarianism.
When most people think of a Rastafarian, they think of a black person with dreadlocks in his or her hair, someone who smokes marijuana and someone who lazes around all day not really contributing much to society. I urge you to try and decipher between a person who wears dreadlocks for fashion and a person who is deeply involved in their religion. This makes all the difference when you are judging people because the Rastafari, unlike the person who just wears dreadlocks for fun, does not think of marijuana as an entertaining and numbing pastime. Instead, marijuana is regarded as "wisdomweed" by the Rastafari. The Rasta leaders urge that it be smoked as a religious rite and they allege that it was found growing on the grave of King Solomon and that references to the herb are cited in biblical passages such as Psalms 104:12. These passages are said to give evidence to the herbs sacramental properties.
DIET AND DREADLOCKS
As I said before, true Rastafarians are very religious people and the commitment they have to their religion is shown in the strictness of their diet. Rastafarians refuse to eat or drink a number of things and these include: pork, all meat, snails, scavenger species of marine life, scalessfish, shellfish, salt and many other common seasonings. They do not believe in the ingestion of alcohol and refuse to smoke tobacco. Their diet is called "ital", a Rastafarian term meaning pure, natural or clean.
As for their hair, the way they choose to wear it is also derived from the Bible. In the book of Levitivus 21:5, the following is said: "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh." Hence, Rastafarians allow their hair to mat and twine itself into what is known to the public as "dreadlocks." Ironically enough, the term dreadlocks was actually not derived by Rastafarians, but by those who did not approve of their way of life. "Dreadlocks" was a term that came about to mock what seemed to be the apathetic manner in which Rastafarians dealt with their appearance.
BYE BYE BABYLON
The Rastafarian religion is based upon the belief that one day Babylon, that is, all the contrivances that keep people of color down and destitute, will eventually fall. Due to this belief, they have often been accused of being anti-white, but Rastafarians insist that they are not and instead invite people who are not of black ancestry to accept God (whom they call Jah) into their own lives.
*Factual information on this web page was provided by www.bobmarley.com