When most of us think about rastas, we think of dread locks, reggae, and weed. Well this is obvious and known through sterio types and people like Bob Marley, about the dread locks life (sort of).
I have known and meet alot of rastas, but never really knew what or how it came to be and I never really cared to ask. Well it turns out it is linked to Christianity and based on a interpretation of the Bible!
The belief system emerged in an early 20th-century atmosphere made ripe by Marcus Garveys back to Africa crucade. It was a time when lots of Jamaicas churchmen preached of a black messiah who would rise to fight the oppressor, known under the catch-all Babylon,(where the Israelites were exiled) and lead his people back to the mother land (Africa).
These certian Jamacians identified it not only with the Europion colonizers who had inslaved Africans and brought them to the Caribbean, but with the materialistic values in general.
When King Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, a Christian whose bloodline supposedly traced back to King Solomon, was crowned in 1930, many Jamaicans interpreted the even as a fulfillment of the prophecy given in Psalms 87:4-6,"behold, Philistia and tyre with ethiopia: this one was born there"
They adopted a portion of Selassie's pre-coronatrion name, Ras Tafari Makonnen, for their movement. Today they carry an older version of Ethiopias national flag, a green, gold, and red banner emblazioned with the lion of zion, the religous homeland of Jews and Christians.
Other Biblical verses supposedly instruct rastas to smoke marijuana as a sacrament and to grow dreadlocks. 104:14, he causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegitation for the labour of man, While numbers describes a true believer as one who "shall let the locks of his hair grow long"
Their interpretation of the Bible also demands that its followers live naturally, avoiding meat and shellfish in favor of organic fruits and vegetables (Ital diet).
In the beginning, most rastas were farmers, fishermen and artisans. Then in the 60s, the reggae music industry became a source of income that allowed rasta parents to pay for their childrens education.
In the 70s, left wing government in Jamaica recognized the religion, and soon spread to middle class families. Rastafarians were often known as peace makers in the Jamacian Ghettos.
Since the recognizeation and help from Bob Marley, the religion has grown to over 1 million followers from all the carribean to even New Zealand, where a member of parliament is a rasta, to Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Willams who is an on and off again rasta.
Well, I just thought I'd let you know about the life of a rasta, as this is something new to me also. I did not know that it was created from (what they wanted to take) from the Bible? You know it sounds nice and all Irie, but I think I will stick with Jesus over Selassie I any day. Thanks anyway Bob.