History and Origins of Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism, a spiritual movement born on Jamaica in the 30s, is much more than just a religion. It is a rich and complex culture whose roots reach deep into the history and spirituality of the African diaspora. Distinguished by its unique approach to life, beliefs and practices, Rastafarianism has had a significant impact on music, art, politics and society around the world. From the spiritual messages of Haile Selassie, through reggae music Bob Marley, to the symbolic dreadlocks and green-yellow-red colors, Rastafarianism has become a symbol of resistance against oppression and the pursuit of spiritual freedom.

Wanting to find out exactly who he is rastafarian, it is worth delving into the very beginnings of Rastafarianism. Where does this movement come from, who influenced its shape and what are the foundations of this movement. In this post, we take a closer look at the history, beliefs and cultural impact of Rastafarianism, discovering its deep meaning and lasting legacy.

The beginnings of Rastafarianism

the beginnings of the Rastafarian movement

The beginnings Rastafarianism go back years 30s of the XNUMXth century and are deeply rooted in the experiences of poor communities Afro-Jamaican, which at the time faced challenges resulting from British colonialism. Rastafarianism was born as a reaction to the social and economic oppression faced by the inhabitants Jamaica, while also being a testimony to the search for identity and spiritual liberation.

In this context, Ethiopian influence was crucial, especially after the coronation Haile Selassie I as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, which was interpreted by early Rastafarians as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. This event became a cornerstone of Rastafarianism, strengthening the belief in Selassie's divinity and symbolic connection to the African homeland.

The Rastafarian movement was also inspired by the Back to Africa movement, promoted by figures such as Marcus Garvey, who had a significant influence on the development of Rastafarianism, emphasizing the idea of ​​the unity of the African diaspora and the need for a spiritual and physical return to Africa​​​​​​.

Rastafarianism, as a social and religious movement, gained strength in the 40s and 50s, when it began to develop a unique cultural identity expressed in music, art and way of life, which ultimately contributed to its international recognition and influence.

The influence of Leonard Howell and other spiritual leaders

spiritual leaders of Rastafarianism

Artwork depicting Leonard Howell and other spiritual leaders who influenced the development of Rastafarianism. The painting features portraits of Howell and figures such as Joseph Hibbert and Archibald Dunkley, set against the backdrop of early 20th century Jamaica.

leonard howell he played a key role in shaping the ideology of Rastafarianism, being one of its first and most influential leaders. His activities in the 30s in Jamaica contributed to the development of a movement that combined the deeply rooted beliefs of Afro-Jamaicans with a new spiritual vision. Howell, often called "The first Rastafarian”, promoted the idea that the coronation of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, in 1930 was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. According to his interpretation, Selassie was the messiah and the incarnation of God, which became a central element of Rastafarian beliefs.

Howell and other early leaders such as Joseph Hibbert or Archibald Dunkley, had a significant impact on shaping the doctrine of Rastafarianism, integrating elements of Christianity, African heritage and personal interpretation of the Holy Scripture. They attached great importance to a spiritual connection with Africa, especially Ethiopia, as the promised land and cradle of civilization. Their teachings and activities became the foundation for the development of the Rastafarian movement, which over time spread beyond the borderice Jamaica, gaining global importance​​​​​.

Rastafarian Beliefs and Practices

Rastafarian faith

The Rastafarian believes in the divinity of Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, sees Ethiopia as the Promised Land, and practices a life in accordance with natural principles and deep spirituality, drawing inspiration from both the Bible and African heritage.

What does a Rastafarian believe in? Basic beliefs Rastafarian they are a unique combination of elements of Christianity, African heritage and their own biblical interpretations. The central figure in the Rastafarian religion is Haile Selassie I, the emperor of Ethiopia, who, according to their beliefs, is the incarnation of God and the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy about the black king. Rastafarians recognize Selassie as the messiah and identify him with the figure of Christ.

Ethiopia is seen by Rastafarians as Promised Land, a symbol of a spiritual and physical return to African roots, which is related to the return to Africa movement promoted by Marcus Garvey. These beliefs also emphasize a strong sense of unity and brotherhood among people of African descent, as well as the desire for liberation from oppression and injustice.

A key element of Rastafarian religious practice is smoking marijuana (ganja), which is considered a sacrament and a way to achieve greater spiritual awareness. Moreover, Rastafarianism promotes a natural lifestyle, which is reflected in following the Ital diet, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and processed foods.

The core beliefs of Rastafarians have shaped a unique cultural and spiritual identity that has had a significant impact on Jamaican culture, as well as on cultures around the world, primarily through reggae music and iconic figures such as Bob Marley​​​​​.

Living according to Rastafarian principles


The practices of Rastafarians are closely related to their beliefs and constitute an important element of the daily life of their followers. Avoiding alcohol and meat results from the belief in the need to lead a natural and "clean" lifestyle. Ital diet, based mainly on plant products, is perceived as a way to maintain the health of body and spirit, in accordance with Rastafarian principles.

Smoking marijuana, or ganja, is of key importance in the religious practices of Rastafarians. It is used in the context of religious ceremonies as a means to achieve deeper meditation, spiritual purification and as a way to get closer to God. This custom comes from the belief that marijuana is a "medicinal herb" mentioned in the Bible and serves as a tool for spiritual awakening.

In addition to diet and marijuana use, a significant element of Rastafarian culture is dreadlocks. Dreadlocks, i.e. unscraped and naturally braided hair, are not only an expression of cultural identity, but also have a deep spiritual meaning. They are a symbol Lion of Judah – references to Haile Selassie and the biblical verse about Samsone whose strength was linked to his hair. Dreadlocks are also a sign of resistance against the social and cultural norms imposed by colonialism and symbolize the natural beauty of man in its unchanged form.

Rastafarianism in Jamaica

Rastafarianism in Jamaica

Rastafarianism had a profound impact on Jamaican society, particularly prominent in the 60s and 70s. During this period, the Rastafarian movement not only gained popularity, but also began to play an important role in cultural and political life Jamaica.

In the 60s, Rastafarians began to be seen as more than just... religious group, but also as a social and cultural movement that advocated for the rights and dignity of black people. Their relations with the authorities were complicated - they often faced repression and misunderstanding from the government and the dominant society. The most dramatic incident occurred in 1963, known as "Bad Friday” when brutal clashes with the police broke out.

The development of the movement in the 70s was closely related to the growing influence of reggae music and figures such as Bob Marley, who promoted the ideas of Rastafarianism around the world. During this time, the movement began to be seen more clearly positively, and its cultural and social message has gained wider recognition both in Jamaica and internationally.

Rastafarianism has therefore played a key role in shaping Jamaica's national identity, influencing its culture, music, art and politics, as well as contributing to a global dialogue on racial equality and human rights​​​​​.

Global spread and cultural influence

Rastafarian in Rasta colors

Rastafarian is very often associated with reggae music.

Rastafarianism, although born in Jamaica, spread throughout the world, becoming a phenomenon with significant cultural influence. A key factor in its global popularity was its music reggae, with particular emphasis on the work of artists such as Bob Marley. Their music, infused with the spirituality and social messages of Rastafarianism, has gained international recognition, making reggae one of the most recognizable musical genres in the world.

In the 70s and 80s, Rastafarianism began to be perceived not only as a religion or social movement, but also as symbol of resistance against oppression and racial inequality. His message of unity, love and freedom resonated with diverse social and cultural groups around the world, from South America to EurOpa, and even Asia and Australia.

Rastafarianism has also influenced other aspects of global culture, including fashion, language, and art. Distinctive Rastafarian style, including dreadlocks, colors green, yellow and red and symbolism associated with Africa have become recognizable all over the world. Additionally, the ideas of Rastafarianism have contributed to discussions about the use of marijuana, human rights and environmental awareness.

Rastafarianism shows how what was initially a local Jamaican movement evolved into a significant element of global culture, exerting a lasting global influence on music, art, fashion and social consciousness.

Rastafarian and reggae music

reggae band

Rastafarianism and reggae are inextricably linked, and the development of this musical genre in Jamaica in the 60s and 70s was crucial to the spread of Rastafarianism around the world. Reggae, with its rhythmic, hypnotic sounds, became the voice of Rastafarians, conveying their spiritual message, stories of oppression, hope for a better future and dreams of returning to Africa.

An artist like Bob Marley, who is both a follower of Rastafarianism, as well as one of the greatest representatives of reggae music, played a key role in popularizing these beliefs. His lyrics, saturated with Rastafarian philosophy and social message, reached a wide audience around the world, making reggae a symbol of the fight for equality and justice.

Reggae music, with its unique aesthetics and characteristic sound, has become not only a form of artistic expression, but also an important medium of cultural and spiritual transmission of Rastafarianism. A message of unity, love and resistance against oppression appealed to many people, contributing to interest in Rastafarianism and its ideas around the world.

Thanks to reggae, Rastafarianism has gained global recognition, and its culture and beliefs have become an integral part of the world's musical and cultural heritage.

Rastafarian - who is that?


Concept Rasta and/ or Rastafarian is known to many people around the world. Usually, the first association that comes to mind after reading the word "Rasta" is Bob Marley. It is he who is associated with the characteristic clothing and appearance that has become part of the Rastafarian canon. A Rastafarian is a man with dreadlocks dressed in a three-color (green, yellow, red) outfit or hat.

Another common and obvious association with this idea is marihuana. It has long been known that cannabis in such subcultures as Rastafarians is considered to be the so-called. holy herb. Smoking marijuana by the Rastafarian movement is a kind of spiritual act. You can even say that it is a kind of sacrament in their confession. Such a spiritual experience in the company of marijuana is supposed to cleanse their physical and mental bodies, awaken their consciousness, and bring them closer to God.

Similar terms to the word "Rastafarian" include:

  1. A follower of Rastafarianism
  2. Rasta
  3. Rastaman (in masculine context)
  4. Rastafarka (in female context)
  5. Supporter of the Rastafarian movement
  6. Member of the Rastafarian movement
  7. Rastafari (as a general term for a follower)

Rastafarianism colors and their meanings

Rastafarian colors

Rastafarian colors are in order: green, gold (yellow), and red. As for the meaning of Rasta colors, the matter is not clear cut. The reason for the Rastafarian choice of these colors was based on Pan-African colors, specifically the colors of Ethiopia, which was of great importance to the entire Rastafarian movement.

And so color zielony it means the land of Africa, gold (yellow) it is a symbol of riches that are available in Africa (mainly gold taken by the colonists of this continent). Red on the other hand, it means the blood of the inhabitants of Africa shed during the struggle for land.

Rastafari movement


We know the basic information, but where did the whole idea come from? Rastafarian and what is it based on?

Everything started with Marcus Garveywho was a refugee from Jamaica. Marcus, was a pioneer who fought bravely for equality and was the first to shout loudly that you should be proud of your race.

Activist Garvey spoke of Ethiopia as the Promised Land of Blacks. Garvey believed and predicted so in 1927 to his followers that the so-called Black King. In 1930, Lif Ras Tafari Makkonen was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia and took the name Haile Sellasie I. He was also called the King of Kings and the Victorious Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Therefore Lion is one of the Rastafarian symbols. It is intended to symbolize their courage and fearlessness.

Ras Tafari Makkonen considered the Messiah in Jamaica, he was the person who united all Rastafarians in preaching and spreading equality, independence, return to nature, respect for people and brotherhood.

Bob Marley - the most famous Rastafarian

Bob Marley Rastafarian

Bob Marley - the most famous Rastafarian

Bob Marley, the most famous artist of reggae music, and one of the most important musicians of the 1966th century, a follower of the Rastafari idea. In 28, during the visit of the Emperor of Ethiopia to Jamaica, where the artist himself came from, Marley became interested in the whole ideology and decided to spread its main slogans further. Soon it became the so-called The icon of the entire religious movement - Rastafari. It happened thanks to the great international career of Bob Marley, which he achieved at the age of 1973. The music album "Catch a fire" from XNUMX, which he recorded with the band The Wailers, achieved great success and flattering reviews from American critics.

In the lyrics of his songs, he often included slogans proclaimed by the Rastafarian movement, e.g. “Zwake up, stand up, claim your rights“. Bob Marley infected many people not only with great reggae music, but also with spiritual Rasta messages.

Rastafarians celebrate! New law in the Canary Islands

Antigua and Barbuda were the first Caribbean countries to allow the Rastafari community use marijuana for sacramental purposes. Additionally, members of this community will be able to farm cannabis. This is the result of talks with representatives of the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda and members of the local Rastafarians. They were appreciated for their perseverance, although there were many voices mocking their culture.

Expressing support, Prime Minister Browne introduced changes to the Cannabis Act 2018. It is also worth mentioning that Prime Minister Browne expressed the need for closer cooperation between the state and the Rastafari community. This cooperation is to concern the development of the hemp industry. Following this lead, one gets the impression that the Rasta movement in Antiga and Barbuda will, in essence, manage the island's cannabis. Could these changes mean the legalization of weed on the islands anytime soon? We'll probably find out about that soon.

Culture, beliefs, followers, music, marijuana, clothing, everyday life - in a few sentences who is a Rastafarian


Rastafarianism is a culture and religion that originated in Jamaica and has gained popularity around the world over the last few decades. Rastafarians believe that the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie I, is the messiah foretold in the Bible and that his return to Jamaica was a fulfillment of prophecy. Rastafarians also believe that the human race is of African origin and that Rastafarianism is a way to return to African roots. Rastafarian culture is not only beliefs, but also music, clothing and lifestyle.

Rastafarian beliefs

Rastas regard Haile Selassie I as the liberator of their nation and as a symbol of freedom, equality and fraternity. They believe that his return to Jamaica in 1966 was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and marked the beginning of a new era in which the man of African descent would regain his dignity and freedom.

A Rastafarian believes that the human race has African origins and that Rastafarianism is a way to return to African roots and culture. Therefore, Rastafarians often refer to African traditions, including religion, music and art.

Rastafarian music

Bob Marley 1

Music is a very important element of Rastafarian culture. Rastas are known for creating music that has become an icon of Jamaican culture and has gained worldwide popularity. Reggae originated in the early 60s in Jamaica and quickly became an important medium for Rastafarianism. Reggae music has deep roots in traditional African music and in Jamaican ska and rocksteady music.

Reggae lyrics often refer to Rastafarian culture and political and social issues in Jamaica. They often touch on topics such as poverty, racial discrimination, the fight for freedom and equality, as well as faith in Jah - God according to Rastafarians.

The most important representatives of reggae music include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear. Their music became a symbol of the Rastafarian movement and had a huge impact on Jamaican culture and on popular culture around the world.

Rastafarian outfit

Rastafarian outfit

Rastafarian clothing often consists of bright colors such as green, yellow and red which are symbolic of the Rastafarian movement. Flower hats and scarves are often worn, as well as wood or bone jewelry.

Rastafarians also often wear dreadlocks, which are braids or dreadlocks. Dreads symbolize a return to the natural state of things and connect Rastafarians with their African roots.

Everyday life of Rastafarians


For Rastafarians, everyday life is based on Rastafarian culture and beliefs. They often practice vegetarianism or veganism because they believe that eating meat is contrary to their belief in life and respect for nature. Rastafarians also often avoid stimulants, with the exception of marijuana, which they treat as a sacrament.

Rastas believe that life should be simple and close to nature. They often practice self-sufficiency by growing their own food and using solar energy. Rastas also live by the principle of "one life", believing that every life is precious and should be respected.

Frequently asked questions

1. Who was Haile Selassie in Rastafarian beliefs? Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, is viewed by Rastafarians as the messiah and the incarnation of God. His coronation in 1930 was interpreted as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

2. What does the term 'Babylon' mean in the context of Rastafarianism? 'Babylon' is a metaphor for oppression and a system that Rastafarians believe is contrary to their values. Refers to social injustice, oppression and colonialism.

3. What is the significance of the Ital diet in Rastafarianism? The Ital diet, based on natural, unprocessed plant products, is an expression of respect for the body as a temple and avoidance of toxins that may disturb spiritual balance.

4. Why do Rastafarians wear dreadlocks? Dreadlocks are a symbol of strength and resistance against established social norms. They also have spiritual significance, being associated with the biblical verse about not scraping your hair.

Summary and Conclusions

Initially associated with Afro-Jamaicans in the 30s, Rastafarianism has become a global movement, influencing not only culture and music, but also social and political perspectives. The central figure of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, and the unique beliefs of Rastafarians reflect the deep-rooted spiritual dimension of this faith. Rastafarianism, while promoting a natural lifestyle and respect for the Earth, also influences current discussions about health and the environment.

The cultural influence of Rastafarianism, expanded through reggae music, symbolizes a more general fight for equality and social justice. His ideas and aesthetics have become a significant part of the global cultural consciousness, contributing to lasting changes in perceptions of racial, ecological and spiritual issues around the world. As both a spiritual and cultural movement, Rastafarianism continues to inspire and provoke reflection, emphasizing the importance of spiritual connection to our roots and the world around us.

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WARNING! In Poland, the law prohibits the cultivation of hemp other than fibrous. This post is not intended to encourage you to break the law. All content related to the cultivation and processing of marijuana is for educational and curiosity purposes only. Currently, more and more countries in the world allow their citizens to grow a marijuana bush for their own use, but Poland is not one of these countries yet.
Rastafarian | Rastafarians | Rastafarianism | Rastaman | Rastafarian | Rasafari Movement

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