What is the Rastafarian movement?

In the early 1930s a religious movement known as Rastafarianism was founded in Jamaica. It is based on specific interpretations of the Bible and repatriation to Africa. It embraces rituals and practices such as reasonings, which are gatherings of members who come together to pray and smoke holy weed, or marijuana. It also embraces binghi, or all-night merriments to celebrate memorable dates and occasions, such as Marcus Garvey’s birthday, the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I, and freedom from slavery. Rastas believe that they are descended from black Hebrews exiled in Babylon and therefore are true Israelites. They also believe that Haile Selassie (whose name before ascending the throne was Lij Ras Tafari Makonnen) is the direct descendant of Solomon and Sheba, and that God is black. Rastafarians consider dreadlocks as a symbol of wisdom and a priestly image. Around the world young blacks have popularized dreadlocks, Rasta colors (red, green, and gold), and smoking marijuana more like a fashion trend, rather than a true statement of cultural and religious values.

Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie I was, according to Rastafarians, a direct descendant of King Solomon.


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