In recent times we have seen quite a few self proclaimed “Rastas” walking
around most of which are as I like to call them “Fashion Dreads” and there
is nothing wrong with that (for the most part). Some of them DO follow the
principles however and yet the majority of them don’t. So what exactly
does it mean to be a true Rastafarian ?? Find out after the jump.
ORIGINS OF THE RASTAMAN
The Rastafarin movement, or Rasta, is a spiritual movement which arose here in Jamaica in the 1930s, a country with a predominantly Christian. Most of its followers worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as God incarnate, the Second Advent, or the reincarnation of Jesus. Members of the Rastafari movement are known as Rastas, or Rastafari.
The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie I, composed of Amharic Ras (literally “Head”, an Ethiopian title equivalent to Duke), and Haile Selassie’s pre-regnal given name, Tafari. Rastafari are generally distinguished for asserting the doctrine that Haile Selassie I, the former and final Emperor of Ethiopia, is another incarnation of the Christian God, called Jah. Most see Haile Selassie I as Jah or Jah Rastafari, who is the second coming of Jesus Christ onto the Earth, but to others he is simply God’s chosen king on earth.
THE RASTA COLORS
The Rastafarian colours of green, gold and red and black are very commonly sported on Rastafarian flag, badges, posters etc. The green, gold and red are the colours of the Ethiopian flag and show the loyalty Rastafari feel towards the Ethiopian state in the reign of King Selassie. Apart from being the colors of the Ethiopian Flag these colors serve a different purpose as well; they are as follows. Black is symbolic of the Motherland of Africa from which the slaves who were brought to Jamaica came from, the Green symbolizes, the Earth on which we all walk and with which Rasta Share a special kind of connection, Yellow/Gold stands for the bountiful amount of treasure to be had from the land and the Red is for the blood of all living creatures which as one upon the earth.
THE WAY OF THE RASTA
Many Rastas eat limited types of meat in accordance with the dietary Laws of the Old Testament; they do not eat shellfish or pork. Others abstain from all meat and flesh whatsoever, asserting that to touch meat is to touch death, and is therefore a violation of the Nazirite vow. Many Rastafari maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet all of the time. Food approved for Rastafari is generally referred to as Ital or Natural. The purpose of fasting (abstaining from meat and dairy) is to cleanse the body in accordance to serving in the presence of the “Ark of the Covenant”.
Some of the Houses (or “Mansions” as they have come to be known) of the Rastafari culture, such as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, do not specify diet beyond that which, to quote Christ in the New Testament, “Is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defile him, but what come out of it”. Wine is seen as a “mocker” and strong drink is “raging”; however, simple consumption of beer or the very common roots wine are not systematically a part of Rastafari culture this way or that. Separating from Jamaican culture, different interpretations on the role of food and drink within the religion remains up for debate.
The wearing of dreadlocks is very closely associated with the movement, though not universal among, or exclusive to. Rastas maintain that locks are supported by Leviticus 21:5 (“They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh.”) and the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:5 (“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.”).
If you take locks into consideration you can them begin to fathom the connection between Rasta and the “Lion of Judah”, seeing that their locks resemble the Mane of a Lion, which is also the “King of the Jungle”
With all being said and done, this isn’t even a quarter way deep into the true meaning of what it is to be a Rasta. We’ve only just barely brushed the surface. The Rastafarian movement is something you will have to go and fully research by yourself. The point of this post however was to bring to light the fact that most of the people who you see walking around claiming that they are in fact Rasta do not live up to the movement. As a matter of fact you have more people without locks who are more Rasta than some of the actual Rastas. Sticking true to the old Morgan Heritage Song which states “Yuh dont haffi dread to be rasta, this is not a dreadlocks thing, it’s a divine conception of the heart”.
I dare you to walk up to a rasta today and ask them about anything pointed out in this post. I can bet most of them wont know what it is you are talking about. I dare you to try it 🙂
Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. Subscribe to our mailing list to get new articles sent to you automatically.