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Unformatted text preview: RASTAFARI RASTAFARI By Brian Andersen RASTA RASTA CULTURE Ethiopia, specifically, Africa in general, is considered the Rasta's Ethiopia, heaven on earth, the homeland. The basic beliefs of a Rasta is to uphold the truth and defend The good over evil. Having dreadlocks is not central to being a Having Rasta One of the more obvious symbols of the One Rastafarians are colours. These are red, gold, and green. These colours were taken from the Garvey movement. The colour red stands for the Church Triumphant which is the church of the Rastas. It also symbolizes the blood that martyrs have shed in the history of the Rastas. The yellow represents the wealth of the homeland. Green represents the beauty and vegetation of Ethiopia, the promised land. Sometimes black is used to represent the colour INFLUENCE ON THE WORLD INFLUENCE The Rastafarian religion originated in Africa. The It is often associated with the poorer black population of Jamaica. It is not just a religion, but a way of life. Rastafarians speak out against; poverty, oppression and inequality.....not just religious ideas but global problems. Rastafarians will use the Bible for guidance guidance Number of Adherents: About 700,000 Number worldwide. worldwide. Clergy: None, individual believers are Clergy: autonomous. autonomous. Requirements to join: Non blacks are Requirements discouraged generally, however, there is no official bar to anyone. official IDEOLOGY IDEOLOGY Avoid what they view as the materialistic Avoid and corrupt white culture Rastafarian theology emphasizes Rastafarian individual apprehension of God (called Jah), and one who is "dread," that is, God-fearing, a belief that is referred to theologically as "theosis," or God becoming. Babylon is the Rastafarian term for the Babylon white political power structure that has been holding the black race down for centuries. In the past, Rasta see that blacks were held down physically by the shackles of slavery. In the present, Rasta feel that blacks are still held down through poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and trickery by the white man. The effort of Rasta is to try to remind blacks of their FOUNDER Emperor Haile Selassie I is Emperor the only foundation stone of the Rastafarian Faith November 2, 1930 November Crowned “King of Kings, Elect of God, and Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah” Selassie was not a Selassie Rastafarian himself. He was a devout Christian. was The Lion of Judah The represents Haile Selassie, the Conqueror. It represents the King of Kings as a lion is the king of all beasts. Selassie wore a Lion of Selassie Judah ring that was given to Bob Marley at the time SPIRITUAL PRACTICES Church/temple: None; worship is often by small groups in homes. Gatherings Church/temple: of believers, called Nyahbinghi, usually center around the sharing of the "Chalice," a large ceremonial pipe containing the Rastafarian sacrament, Ganga (Marijuana), a practice likened to the Christian communion ceremony. Ganga There is no unified Rasta "church" or fixed set of beliefs, no set doctrine of There what Rastas believe. Numerous different sects of Rastas all have the freedom to believe many different things. Women's role in the Rastafarian movement are a subordinate one, but not in an abusive position. subordinate The King James version is the translation almost unanimously used. This The actually conflicts with their position on Babylon, since it was translated by a committee of mostly white men from universities issued under the mandate of King James. It represents all that they are against. King Rastafarians use the scriptures for guidance as long as it agrees with their own Rastafarians pre-conceived ideas and understanding. But the way it is interpreted is highly questionable SPIRITUAL RITUAL SPIRITUAL Ganja, is used for religious purposes for Ganja, Rastafarians. Its use is written in the Bible in Psalms 104:14, "He causeth the grass for the cattle, and herb for the service of man". The use of this herb is very extensive among the Rastas not only for spiritual purposes as in their Nyabingi celebration, but also for medicinal purposes for colds and such. The following are a few of the many Biblical texts that Rasta embrace as reasons Jah, gave for the use of the herb: They smoke "spliffs of ganja "-marijuana They cigarettes religiously This is illegal in Jamaica as well as in This America, but they believe it is their religious privilege. ". . . thou shalt eat the herb of the field " ". (Genesis 3:18) (Genesis ". . . eat every herb of the land " (Exodus ". RASTA GODS RASTA The prime basic belief of the Rastafarians is that Haile Selassie is the The living God for the black race. living Rastafarians say scriptures prophesized him as the one with "the hair of whose head was like wool (the matted hair of I black man), whose feet were like unto burning brass (I black skin)". Selassie was not a Rastafarian himself. He was a devout Christian. Selassie In fact, no one is really sure what he thought of the whole Rastafarian movement. When a group of Rastas went to Ethiopia to honour him, an official of the palace told them to go away! This did not make the Rastas question their belief, it only made it stronger. God is not supposed to know he is God. The Rastafarian name for God is Jah. The Ethiopia, specifically, Africa in general, is considered the Rastas' Ethiopia, heaven on earth heaven Rasta's believe that Jah will send the signal and help the blacks Rasta's exodus back to Ethiopian, their homeland. DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE DEATH There is no afterlife or hell as Christianity There believes. The Rastas feel that their ancestors did something to offend Jah which brought them into an exile of slavery in the Western World such as the Caribbean. Dreads Dreads "Dreadlocks were inspired by a "Dreadlocks biblical injunction against the cutting of one's hair” of It is symbolic of the spirit of the Lion of Judah. It also represents the Rasta's' roots, distinguished from the straight blond hair of the white man and his establishment establishment The Bible verse Leviticus 21:5, "They The shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh." This has also come to symbolize rebellion against the Babylon system. Babylon The hair is grown as long as possible The and styled in braided like individual clumps and curls There are schools that have problems There with the dreadlocks hairstyle and are trying to outlaw it DIET DIET True Rastafarians are vegetarians Use no salt, some eat meat, but most will not Use eat pork. Fish is a staple I-tal food; however, no crabs, Fish lobster, or shrimp are eaten as they are scavengers of the sea (following the Levitical law). law). No liquor, milk, coffee, or soft drinks are consumed, as they are unnatural. (not followed as strictly as the food requirements.) This is special food never touches chemicals This and is not in cans. This food is cooked, but served in the rawest form possible; without salts, preservatives, or condiments. Drinking preferences rest with anything that is herbal, such as tea. The term I-tal food is rapidly taking hold in the consumer industry in Jamaica. Jamaica. MUSICAL INFLUENCE MUSICAL Reggae began to take a religious tone with the Rastafarian conversion of Reggae musician Bob (Robert) Marley, who is almost exclusively responsible for introducing Rastafarian beliefs to the mainstream. Some Reggae messages are positive and upbeat, but most are politically- oriented messages. Music themes of oppression, poverty, Slavery, apartheid and human rights are often the music's message. Reminding them of their plight to gain freedom. These are not just religious or political ideas, but global problems for all. This is not just about the struggle of the black people, but of all who are oppressed. In this way their music speaks to people outside the Rastafarian movement. their Reggae has its appeal to young people who are found in the drug culture. It Reggae offers religious justification for smoking the weed. They teach it opens one up spiritually to hear from God. spiritually The message sung is peace, love, unity and brotherhood of all mankind . This The becomes the message of hope for a new tomorrow. They sing about one love and one world. Clearly the message is man-centered as we can come together and do this despite our different beliefs and Important days Important January 6 - Ethiopian Christmas January February 6 - Bob Marley's birthday February April 21 - The anniversary of Emperor Haile April Selassie I's visit to Jamaica. Also known as Grounation Day. Grounation July 23 - The birthday of Emperor Haile July Selassie I August 17 - The birthday of Marcus Garvey August November 2 - The coronation of Emperor November My Thoughts My I chose to research the Rastafarian way of life because it is one of those belief chose systems that I have come into contact with but don’t really understand what it is all about. I was introduced to the Rastafarian culture through my guitar program in high was school. Our guitar program played as many types of music from as many different cultures as possible, and through this exploration of music I was formally introduce to the music of Bob Marley. formally After researching the ways of the Rastafari, I have come to the conclusion that After their way of life and their beliefs are ones that I respect and admire. I have grown up in a Catholic household, so many of their beliefs seemed strange at first. But soon the Rastafarian way of life started to become more interesting and exciting than strange. and One aspect of their way of life that always bothered me was the smoking of One ganga. In high school there were people who seemed to be embracing the rasta way of life but the aspect that they seemed most interested in was the smoking of ganga. They took a peaceful and loving way of life and basically reduced it to a group of dope smoking people who didn’t seem to have any motivation in life. And that first experience of the “rasta” way of life made me hold the rasta MY THOUGHTS CONT. MY I think that it is very honorable that Rastafarians are beginning to focus more think on the purity of a person’s heart rather than the color of their skin or their gender. They are a people who care immensely for the community, the environment, and those who share the world with them. They are more about everyone getting along peacefully than about who’s way of thinking is the “right” way. “right” I think that everyone, no matter what origin of faith or lack there of, can think respect the Rastafari for their caring nature and love of the earth and all of its inhabitants. inhabitants. The interesting thing about the Rastafari is that time and time again I saw the The same description of what it means to be Rastafari. The Rastafari say that “Rasta in not just a religion, it is a way of life”. They incorporate the rasta way into everything they do. They will only eat the purest food and want nothing to do with man-made chemicals and additives. They also seem to be seeking an enlightened state of mind all the time. They “religiously” smoke ganga all day in order to be in a relaxed and enlightened state of mind. in Now that my research of the Rastafari is complete I find that I still want to Now keep learning about their culture and other aspects of their lives that I wasn’t able to delve into. I actually want to write questions up on the Rastafari website that Ixudah runs so that I can further understand aspects of their way of life that I really couldn’t find just by researching what was out at the time. of I think that this project has helped me to learn about a culture that I would think BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY "Rastafari Movement." Wikipedia. 11 Oct. 2005 "Rastafari Wikipedia 11 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafari_movement#Rastafari_Today <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafari_movement#Rastafari_Today >. >. This is a website that is set up to be for reference. It is basiclally an online encyclopedia. I found it very helpful in getting the core information about the Rastafari religion. It covers almost all of the aspects that one would want to know about. It is very easy to navigate through the information. navigate 19 04 2005 <http://www.rastafarian.net/>. 19 This is a insiders website. It is has great links to other sites that deal with the Rastafari way of life. This site offers people the chance to ask questions and a Rastafari who goes by the name Ixudah answers whatever an interested person would like to know. know. Littman, Kyle . "Rastafarianism." 2000. Littman, <http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/rast.html>. This website is the one that was created by a professor from the University of Virginia. It covers everything that deals with the Rastafari. There is abundant information on the info that ranges from the history of the Rastafari to their beliefs. Also it lists many books and sites that will further aid in researching the ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/19/2011 for the course REL 101 taught by Professor Ernst during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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