To say that all “Rasta” are the same is to make a HUGE misconception. Although Rastas originate in Jamaica, the following has long been spread full fold across the world. I want to take this post to present my perspective on some of the traditional customs that follow Rastas and their customs.
1. Dreadlocks are not just for style
This is true. According to the Old Testament of the Bible, Rastas believe one should not cut their hair because it’s where their strength lies.
If I could add to it, for a long time I only cut my hair because I was submerged in corporate America and doing what I thought made sense to help me be taken seriously, having already deciding to keep my dreadlocks. I don’t get my hair “twisted” regularly. To me, there’s a difference between long hair and twists and dreadlocks. Again, dreadlocks are not just for style.
2. Rastas smoke marijuana to increase spiritual awareness
As the world is quickly realizing (hopefully the Bahamas will soon too) marijuana is not as bad as it was portrayed. States and countries are legalizing it rapidly after understanding the many benefits it has to society aside from the benefits of helping to increase ones spiritual awareness.
3. Bob Marley did not start the Rastafari movement
Although I grew up on the music and sounds of Bob Marley and the Whalers, I can assure you that he didn’t start the movement. That accolade belongs to the Honorable Marcus Garvey. He was a prophet and also considered the leader of the Back to Africa movement in the 20s.
The Rastafari movement was actually founded in 1930 when Haile Selassie I became Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians consider the Emperor their messiah, naming the movement after his birth name, Ras Tafari Makonnen.
4. Rastas are not just in Jamaica
There are over 1 million followers of the Rastafarian movement worldwide and largely thanks to reggae music, the movement has touched people everywhere.
5. Rastas are super healthy
Generally, Rastas are very health conscious. This varies by the level of practice for each Rasta. Some eat freely what they like and some others have very strict diets which sometimes means they grow all of their own food and refrain from intaking processed foods.
This is especially easy in the islands where you are able to learn to literally fish and catch your own food each daily. Being smaller, I remember a lot of the local fishermen at the dock bringing in some of the best fish were Rastas.
We could never cover the entirety of the Rastafari movement in ONE blog post. There are many other facts about the Rastafari movement that I will continue to post and help the awareness. If you have any questions please leave a comment and join the discussion.