Rastafari Movement/Religon

Small description of the Rastafarian movenment..


Rastafari is an Abrahamic religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930’s.

In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey predicted that a new black king would come to Africa and that man would be the messiah. Not long after this was said, ‘Haile Selassie I’ was the king that was crowned in Ethiopia, the Rastafari movement saw this was a sign of a second coming of Jesus just as Marcus Garvey had prophesied.

<Haile Selassie

Members of the Rastafari religion are known as Rastafari, Jah Rastafari, Rastas, Rastafarians, deadlock rasta or Ras. The name Rastafari is taken from first name ‘Tafari Makonnen’ of Haile Selassie I before his coronation. ‘Ras’ is an Ethiopian title convertible to prince or chief, and name Täfäri (teferi) means one who is revered. ‘Jah’ is a Biblical name from a shortened form of Jehovah, which can be found in the King James Version of the Bible, Psalms 68:4.

The red, black and green were the colors used to represent Africa by the Marcus Garvey movement. The colours green, gold(yellow) and red are the colors of the Ethiopian flag. It shows the loyalty Rastafari feel towards the Ethiopian state in the reign of Haile Selassie.

The colour yellow is believed by some, to refer to the wealth of their homeland in Africa(Ethiopia). Red is symbolic of the blood of martyr of past Rastafarians. The color black is a source of the black people who originally started the Rastafari movement, and the green is related to plant life and beauty of their homeland Ethiopia.

The lion of Judah is very important to Rastafari. A lion is a symbol of courage, which is why it appears on the Imperial Ethiopian flag used in Haile Selassie I’s Ethiopia.

Rastafarians are mostly known from their dreadlocks. Dreads are grown to respond to the rule that they should shave their head or show boldness. They are also required not to shave skin or the corner of their beard. They feel that this process is natural. Some have their dreads untouched meaning they do not get it re-done, they just let it grow.


Another fact is that Rastafarians have a diet called Ital vegetarian. This specific diet is made for Rastafari as it does not have any processed foods. They believe that eating red meat will rot inside the body. Most Rastafari eat fish as they believe it is sticking to the bible. Some Rastas are full vegan or change the Ital diet a little.

Reggae music has been connected to the Rastafari religion throughout the years. Bob Marley’s music has been well-known internationally and has had hit records. There are many different types of music Rastafarians listen to. Burru drumming, Niyabinghi chants, Reggae and Dub (deep) reggae. Most of these types of music are repeated instrumentals of the instruments being played.

Rastas reject Western society calling it “babylon”. Places where any system discriminates against all people for example Rome, because of the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia. “Babylon” is sometimes a name for the police, who are seen as governing agents of babylon’s will.

Rastas call their island “Zion” (Ethiopia) because they believe it is an island promised from Jah(God).

Ganja, herb, weed, kaya, sinsemilla, are the names for cannabis/marijuana. They consider smoking this is a spiritual act, cleans the mind and body, in a simple explanation, it is ‘medicine’ for some rastas.

Why I chose the ‘Rastafari Movement’

Throughout my childhood and growing up as a teen, I have been brought up around reggae as I am from a Caribbean background (St.Lucia and Barbados). I have always listened to reggae by choice and I love all times of reggae (old school, slow/fast,soca etc).

I have always loved Rastafari people. I love their hair,hats,and their personality is so genuine,calm and humble. I didn’t know what their beliefs were so this is why I have decided to research about it. Many years I have listened to deep reggae/dub reggae (which Rastafari listen to) and always attend family celebrations which play reggae music. I have a couple of Rastafari people in my family, and some who just have dreadlocks. From a young girl I have always had long hair, but I always wanted dreadlocks. I usually have my hair in braids or long twists because it looks like dreadlocks. Growing it on my hair will be amazing to do but I have always had my hair natural or straightened once in a while so if I had dreads I could not ever straighten my hair again.

Having the opportunity to research about Rastas and use my creativity for it, for my fmp, is really exciting. I am excited to show my full interest in researching and learning everything about Rastafari.

Researching about culture and religion can be difficult if it is not your own culture and you do not know anything about it. Which I why I chose this culture, to make it challenging but interesting at the same time. I believe I will enjoy my area of research if I was to ask people who are involved in the Rastafari religion or either go to a place where the religion is popular, such as Jamaica. I plan to go to museums and events such as festivals, so that I could take some photos and collect some information on the Rastafari movement.


  • Ethnicity in the Americas

by Frances Henry 1976

  • A Brief Guide to Beliefs: Ideas, Theologies, Mysteries, and Movements
 By Linda Edwards 2001
  • Rastafari? Rasta for You: Rastafarianism Explained

Kelleyana Junique 2004


Rasta Way of Life: Rastafari Livity Book
by Empress Yuajah Ms 2014

  • Rastafari: Roots and Ideology

By Barry Chevannes- 1994


  • Rasta: Emperor Haile Selllassie and the Rastafarians
By Jah Ahkell 1997
  •  Crucial Issues in Caribbean Religions, p.243

Mozella G. Mitchell – 2006


  • Empires crossroads, A new history of the Caribbean

By Carrie Gibson 2014












  • 10 Things To Know About Rastafari Beliefs

http://listverse.com/2014/01/06/10-things-to-know-about-rastafari-beliefs/ By: Gregory Myers January 6, 2014


  • Rastafari



  • Rastafarian History



  •  Ethiopian History




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