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Elev: Roxaa M!"!#$
P"o%&#oo"'oa(o": A'"eea Bell
- *+a( !( %eel, l!-e (o .el!eve ! /a+ 0 1
1. Introduction: Why have I chosen this subject ?
2. Chapter I : The real origin of Rastafarianism, myths and religion.
3. Chapter II: Rasta !ay of living" ho! you recognise a rastafarian, !hat ma#es this
culture uni$ue, !hat ma#es rastafarians different and s%ecial.
&. Chapter III: The rasta culture, lifestyle and music.
'. Conclusion: !hat e(actly is essential to remember from this essay ?
I don)t !ear dreadloc#s, I)m not *amaican, I do not smo#e ganja and I don)t #no! every lyric of
+ob ,arley)s songs, but one day I sim%ly fell in love !ith everything regarding this culture.
-bviously, my first intention !as to search on youtube for reggae music. t first, it seemed
almost im%ossible to understand a !ord from these songs... there !ere same lyrics regarding !ar,
%eace, *ah, ganja....and some other stuffs !hich !ere un#no!n for me at that time.
-f course, the ne(t ste% !as bro!sing on google in order to understand !hat +ob ,arley or ,a(
Romeo .and other artists / !anted to say in their songs. -ne song caught my attention, and I)ve
started to listen more and more. In a short time, I became fascinated by this forgotten !orld of
rastafarians, a !orld !hich seems to be forbidden and im%ossible for me to access. gain I
should say that I)ve never !anted to addo%t the *amaicans)style. I)ve tried only to immitate their
funny accent, !hich ma#es every reggae song incredibly catchy.
-bviously that I had no idea that *amaicans have a !ide culture. It)s maybe too !ide in order to
%resent it in just some %ages. 0o!ever, I)ve tried to find out more and more...!hy are they
different from the rest of us, !hat ma#es them so s%ecial but also so hated by some
communities ? The ans!er is sim%le" they are uni$ue. They do things !e don)t do. We do not
get high in order to get closer to 1od, !e don)t have a s%eciffic loo# !hich should ma#e us
different. Rastas do have it.
The reason !hy I)ve chosen this subject is the fact that I)m fascinated and both interested in this
culture. I)ve tried to add a suggestive title, because ,))dreadloc#s)) is the first thing %eo%le have
in their mind !hen they tal# about Rastafarians. 2o there are some #ey !ords !hich reflect the
main theme of this to%ic" rasta, dreadloc#s, ganja. -f course, the to%ic is very !ide. I !ould li#e
to %resent only the im%ortant as%ects !hich I ho%e are going to be interesting.
2o, here !e go ....
Chapter I
The real oriin o! Rasta!arianis"# "$ths# reliion%
The Rastafari religion, or sim%ly Rasta, is an brahamic s%iritual movement, meaning it comes
from *udaism and it)s based on braham)s %ro%hecies. Rastas disli#e the term ,,rastafarianism))
to define their religion, and they consider it $uite offensive. 2o, they disli#e to be labelled as
an ,,3ism)) themselves, and I)m going to tal# about Rasta religion, not rastafarianism .even
though it)s the same/ .
The name comes from the terms ,,Ras))
and ,,Tafari)) , the %re3regnal title of the
founder 0aile 2ellasie I, the most im%ortant
4thio%ian em%eror. In 4thio%ian
language, ,,ras)) means ,,head)) .meaning
leader / and ,,tafari)) defines a hero. ,any
elements of the rastafarian religion come
from the ethio%ian culture, but there are
%lently of common elements !ith
5hristianism and of course, *udaism.
+assicly, they have only one 1od, !hich
they call *ah. The name *ah is a *amaican
version of *esus, and *ah is considered to be incarnated on earth, living among %eo%le, in the
form of 5hrist and 2elassie.
The origins of Rasta religion begin !ith the legend of 6ing 2olomon and the $ueen of 2heba.
-n her visit to 6ing 2olomon in *erusalem, she !as converted to the faith of braham, and the
1od of the 0ebre!s. 7%on her return .and !ith child/ she converted her #ingdom of 2heba to
*udaism, and %romised that if 2olomon died, her son !ould continue to teach and %rolong the
faith of the 0ebre!s in her land .!hich is modern 4thio%ia/. n undiluted form of *udaism is
still very %rominent in 4thio%ia to this day. ,any as%ects of *udaism !ere ta#en by the rastas,
even their holy boo#, !hich has many things in common !ith the +ible or the Torah. 0o!ever,
there is a big difference bet!een *udaism and Rastafarianism, because rastas acce%t *esus as a
divine %resence !hile *e!s don)t.
The founder of this religion is 0aile 2elassie I, and, as I said, he !as the
em%eror of 4thio%ia for && years. Rastas claim that he !ill lead the
righteous into creating a %erfect !orld called 8ion 9 the ultimate %aradise
for Rastas. There is a connection bet!een 2elassie and 6ing 2olomon,
!hom I)ve already mentioned. 2elassie is considered to be the 22'

member of the 2olomonic dynasty. 0aile 2elassie is %racticly seen as a
living 1od and the second coming of the ,essiah to thousands of ne!
The Rastafarian 0oly +oo#, ho!ever, !as not !ritten by 2elassie. s
you can see, the author is Robert thly Rogers !ho is #no!n to be a
founder of an frocentric religion in !hich 4thio%ians are seen as the
chosen %eo%le of 1od . not the *e!s, li#e !e used to #no!/. The
original 0oly :iby . :iby could be an acronyme of ,,+ible)) /, !hich
a%%eared in 1;1<, !as banned many years in *amaica and 5arraibian
Islands but no! Rastafarians consider it to be the main holy boo#,
among the +ible and the Torah.
The symbols are also sim%le to recogni=e. The star of >avid and the
?ion of *udeah are ado%ted from *udaism and re%resent Rastafari, along
!ith the 4thio%ian flag. 2o, !hen you say Rasta, you thin# about these three colours" green,
yello! and red.
Chapter II
& Rasta 'a$ o! li(in
I)m not going to become a rasta, because it involves a lot of sacrifice. ,aybe they have a !eird
!ay of living, !hich doesn)t seem normal for us. The lifestyle of a Rastafarian is based on
humility and being %olite. Rastafarian culture is about being in love !ith humanity and the %lanet
on a !hole.
It is a Rastafarian +elief that each man should o!n their o!n business. This normally ha%%ens in
order to %reserve creative control over their artistic or scientific e(%ressions. The conce%t of
!or# is doing !hat %leases one)s self and to ma#e other %eo%le ha%%y. nother reason !hy
Rastafarians run their o!n business is due to the fact that they used be heavily discriminated
against during the early years
in *amaica and !ere forced to
create their o!n jobs. The
jobs that Rasta@s normally
%ursue are" musician, %ainter,
scul%tor, dressma#er and
everything that re$uests
Regarding their social %osition, the main accent is %ut on e$uality. s an e(am%le, a rasta must
treat a homeless %erson in the same !ay he treats his family. *udging by the fact that
Rastafarianism is a religion of %eace, there is no dis%lay of aggression. lso, they are
free to have their o!n o%inion !ithout being judged. Relating education, children are
not forced to res%ect the religion. They are free to chose in !hat to believe.
-ther as%ect of their lifestyle is connected to their s%ecific daily activities. They have
no dress code,e(ce%t the +obo shanti sect, !hich are recogni=ed by their turbans.
If you are curious about the Rastafarian eating code, there is one" their diet is called
,,ital)) but it)s similar to the term ,,#asher)), used in *udaism in order to describe their correct
!ay of %re%aring food. 2o they eat no %or#, they don)t combine mil# !ith meat and they have a
s%ecific !ay to %re%are their food. In this %icture, I have an e(am%le of a ty%ical *amaican food.
mong Rastafarians there are also many vegetarians. They %romote a healthy !ay of living.
0o! healty it could be if they smo#e ganja on and on ?

s I said Atheir daily ,,menu)) includes
marijuana. 2mo#ing marijuana is not a
re$uired act, but Rastafarians thin# that this
!ill bring them closer to *ah. It)s a legal act
even though it affects %eo%le)s health. It)s
their decision
+ut not the lifestyle is essential. The ne(t to%ic is going to be about the culture, so do not confuse
these t!o terms.
Chapter III
5ulture, music, loo#s.
2o here)s the cha%ter that e(%lains the title. I)m sure everyone had seen ho! a %erson !ith
dreadloc#s loo#s li#e. It)s a %art of the Rasta culture, of the !ay %eo%le !ant to loo#. It is not a
re$uired %ractice, but it has a religious e(%lanation" BThey shall not ma#e baldness u%on their
head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor ma#e any cuttings in their flesh.B
Rastafarians believe in having uncut hair and uncombed facial hair. Cirst rastas !ith dreadloc#s
!ere the 4thio%ian soldiers. There are also those !ho !ear their dreadloc#s in turbans, not
e(%osing their hair to the %ublic. This is normally %racticed for s%ecific s%iritual reasons.
5ontrary to %o%ular belief having dreadloc#s is not a must. ,ost Rasta@s !ho do not have
dreadloc#s !ill eventually gro! dreadloc#s. -nce they start to understand the intricacies of
letting ones hair flo!. Rastafarians also understand that not everyone has the %rivilege to gro! or
loc# their hair. This may due to family, socio3economic or biological restrictions.
They !ear bright coloured clothes, es%ecially red, green and gold. Women do not use ma#eu%
and don)t have tattoosAas !ell as men. 2o, they are $uite easy to be recogni=ed.
nother im%ortant as%ect of their culture .their loo# is a %art of it/ is the music. s everybody
#no!s, they invented reggae music, a mi( bet!een *amaican, frican and 5arraibean music !ith
a s%ecific beat. 2o !hen you say reggae, you say +ob ,arley and the !hole ,arley family, ,a(
Romeo, :eter Tosh, >iana 6ing, 0orace ndy, Deil >iamond, The ,aytals and so on. Reggae
lyrics incor%orate themes such as love, se(, social criticism, %eace, %olitics. -ther common
socio3%olitical to%ics in reggae songs include blac# nationalism, anti3racism, anti3
colonialism, anti3ca%italism and criticism of %olitical systems and B+abylonB. lso, this music
ins%ired me in doing this %roject, as I e(%lained in the introduction.
s many #no!, the most im%ortant reggae artist !as +ob ,arley. 0e)s an icon for all that means
Rastafarianism. +ob ,arley released the first reggae songs, in the EFGs, and he became famous
!ith his songs !hich reflect the real meaning of Rastafarianism. :raying to *ah, critici=ing the
%olitical !orld, encouraging %eace 9 that)s !hat ,arley does in his songs. I)m sure he brought
me to this stage in !hich I)m doing this research !hile listening to his music. 2o, *ah bless ya)
soul, +ob.
I !anted to find out the truth behind +ob)s lyrics. That is the main reason I)ve started doing this
research. I)ve also !anted to find out ho! is it li#e for such a community, li#e Rastafarians, to
live and to e(%ress themselves through their loo# and their art. -f course, everything seemed so
interesting that I !anted to share !ith all of you. 2o, !hen you say R2T, sto% thin#ing of
druggies living in miserable conditions, sto% thin#ing about their !eird !ay of loo#ing, thin#
only about their ideas, their !ill to ma#e this !orld a better %lace by ending !ith the !ars, and
their !hole amount of ideas regarding %eace. *ust listen carefully to every reggae song, analy=e
the lyrics and %ut yourself the $uestion" are they better than us ? >o they feel ha%%ier than us ? I
found the ans!er. I ho%e you !ill find it too.