Rastafari, often known as Rastafarianism, is a spiritual and cultural movement that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. It’s not just a religion but also a way of life and a social movement. Rastafari focuses on the African diaspora – people of African descent living outside Africa – and emphasizes pride in African heritage and culture.

Key Beliefs of Rastafari

  1. Haile Selassie I: Rastafarians revere Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia. They believe he is the returned messiah of the Bible, a symbol of salvation and liberation.
  2. The Concept of I and I: This term is used to express that all people are connected under the love of Jah (God) and that God exists within each person.
  3. Jah: This is the Rastafari term for God. Jah is seen as present in all people and in nature.
  4. Babylon: In Rastafari, “Babylon” is a term used to describe the oppressive western society. It stands for the structures and institutions that oppress people, especially those of African descent.
  5. Return to Africa: Many Rastafarians believe in the importance of Africans returning to their homeland, both physically and spiritually.
  6. Natural Living: Rastafarians often advocate for living naturally, in harmony with the Earth, which includes eating natural foods and using herbal medicines.

Rastafari Practices

  1. Dreadlocks: Many Rastafarians wear their hair in dreadlocks, which is a symbol of their Lion of Judah identity and a biblical vow of separation.
  2. Diet: Many follow an Ital diet, which is mostly vegetarian or vegan and avoids processed food. Ital means “vital” and emphasizes eating food that is natural, pure, and from the Earth.
  3. Reggae Music: Reggae music, popularized by Bob Marley, is closely associated with Rastafari. It’s used to express spiritual and social messages.
  4. Ganja (Marijuana): Some Rastafarians use marijuana in religious ceremonies as a sacrament to help them connect with Jah and gain spiritual insight.

Rastafari Celebrations

  • Groundation Day: Celebrates Haile Selassie I’s visit to Jamaica on April 21, 1966.
  • Ethiopian New Year and Christmas: These are celebrated according to the Ethiopian calendar.

Rastafari is a movement that teaches love, unity, and respect for nature. It emphasizes a connection to African roots and culture and advocates for social justice and equality.