PDF How to Become a Rasta: Rastafari, Rasta Beliefs, Rastafarian Culture

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This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. Rastafarian music Last updated Rastafarian music, including traditional Nyabingi chants, drumming and reggae.

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On this page Find out more Page options Print this page. Rastafarian music - Nyabingi The traditional music of the Rastafarian religion is Nyabingi.

Rastafari - Wikipedia

Nyabingi music consists of a blend of 19th century gospel music and African drumming. African drumming An early African musical influence was Burru Music. Spread and development of Rastafarian music In the s, Count Ossie began using drumming during reasoning sessions. Reggae In the last thirty years Rastafari has become commonly associated with Reggae music, especially following the worldwide success of Robert Nesta Marley.

Bob Marley Bob Marley , as he was commonly known, helped spread awareness of the religion among outsiders through his appearances and his lyrics. Marley's lyrics expanded the Rastafarian teachings: We are sick and tired of your ism-schism game, to die and go to heaven in Jesus' name. See also.

The Beliefs and Practices of Rastafari

Religion and Ethics home Interfaith calendar Ethics guides. Settings Sign out. Rastafari holds to many Jewish and Christian beliefs. Rastas accept the existence of a single triune god, called Jah, who has incarnated on earth several times, including in the form of Jesus. They accept much of the Bible, although they believe that its message has been corrupted over time by Babylon, which is commonly identified with Western, white culture.

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Specifically, they accept the prophecies in the Book of Revelations concerning the second coming of the Messiah, which they believe has already occurred in the form of Selassie. Before his coronation, Selassie was known as Ras Tafari Makonnen, from which the movement takes its name. Marcus Garvey, an Afrocentric, black political activist, prophesied in that the black race would be liberated soon after a black king was crowned in Africa. Selassie was crowned in , and four Jamaican ministers independently declared the Emperor their savior.

As an incarnation of Jah, Selassie I is both god and king to Rastas. While Selassie officially died in , many Rastas do not believe that Jah can die and thus that his death was a hoax. Others think that he still lives in spirit although not within any physical form. Selassie himself stated that he was fully human, but he also strove to respect Rastas and their beliefs.

Rastas commonly hold the black race as one of the tribes of Israel. Thus, like liberation theology, Rastafarianism is also concerned with the political and economic aspects of life. However, the concern of liberation theology with political and economic issues does not make it something else than a religion.

The main aim of liberation theology is to transform society through social action and on the basis of the Christian message of justice, peace, and love. Liberation theology calls the churches to become a model of the pattern of relationship that it seeks to establish in the world. It challenges all churches to refute the dehumanisation of blacks and all oppressed peoples within their communities as they assist the oppressed in the struggle to obtain full freedom and equality in society. As propagated by Gutierrez, this theology is based on the following principles:.

Liberation theology arises out of believers' outrage and protest against injustice, and a commitment to transforming it towards justice, freedom and dignity. They emerge as a result of the struggles of communities of marginalised people for dignity, life, land and for liberation, understood in the light of God's word. Liberation theologies are usually articulated by people who have chosen to be in solidarity with the marginalised Solberg Taking the above principles into account, it is obvious that the Rastafarian movement shares all the principles articulated by liberation theologies.

Both Rastafarian and liberation theologies fight against oppression and for liberation of the oppressed. However, in Rastafarian liberation discourse the usage of the term ' Babylon' is distinct from the exodus motif normally associated with theologies of liberation. The Rastafarian usage of the term can be traced back to Marcus Garvey's notion of a 'Black Zionism' that pictured 'Zion' as a place of restoration. Thus, in its usage the term 'Zion' serves as the foil for ' Babylon' and in many instances the two contradictions are paired. Amongst Rastafarians, 'Babylon' signifies the evil empire; any place outside of Africa as 'Babylon', and the British Empire as 'Babylon' with ' Zion' as its counterpoint Davidson The Rastafarian movement is grounded upon similar principles as those articulated by both African and liberation theologies.

Though Rastafarians see their struggle as a movement from 'Babylon' to 'Zion', they all see salvation as something that should be attained on earth, i. What can be said is that the Rastafarian movement, as already indicated, incorporates the principles of both African and liberation theologies but goes beyond by embracing additional principles which make it different from these theologies. Rastafarianism and Christianity.

There are identifiable similarities between Rastafarianism and Christianity especially in the use of the Bible and hymns that they sing during congregation. Though Rastafarians share some important features with Christianity, they don't see eye to eye with Christians especially with the coming of Jesus Christ. It is their criticism of Christianity that makes them to adopt a negative attitude against Christianity and religious movements in general. Expressing an opinion about the coming of Christ, a member of movement quoting Mutabaruka an international acclaimed Rasta poet during his South African tour said:.

His father sat on the rocking chair and waited for Jesus to come and never come. His mother sat on the rocking chair in the veranda waiting for Jesus to come and never did. And now he is doing the same, waiting for the same Jesus Chawane Religion itself comes under fire apparently for its rigidity and human limitations, particularly Christianity. It is because of its Christian teaching that the Bible is sometimes rejected. The cross is a symbol of death, hence it is found everywhere symbolising death on graves or cemetery , the swastika is taken from the cross, symbolising the four corners of the world.

Religion should not be confused with spirituality.

Rastafarian Beliefs & Principles: 8 Reasons To Become a Rasta: ! (Blessed Love)

Religion is a set of rules drawn up by human beings. The same cannot be said about Rastafari, our movement thus cannot be seen as a religion because it talk about astrology, politics, culture, the cosmic world, mind, body and soul that is why it is above religion Chawane This opinion is further qualified by Rastafarian Priest Binghi Bunny who explains the major difference between Rastafarianism and Christianity. He says that Rastafarianism is not a religion because religions are created by men to enable them to control others.

Amongst other tools which try to control people, Christianity, especially the so-called the Holy Bible or King James Version became the most successful in doing so. Another generally held opinion amongst the Rastafarians is that Christianity is a white man's creation that teaches blacks that God is a white man, Jesus is white and all the angels are white, while Satan is black Pace Magazine, July While Rastafarians share some characteristics i. They are opposed to Christianity because they believe that its emphasis on otherworldly matters is intended to pacify and control people.

For this reason, they describe Christianity as a 'death worshiping' 10 religion Johnson-Hill In spite of their rejection of Christianity, the Bible seems to be central in the way they interpret the world around them, although they do not want to accept it. It would be true to say that the Bible is simultaneously rejected and accepted. Three opinions became clear during observation of reasoning concerning the question of the place of the Bible within the movement.

For some it should not be used at all because there are other books that can be used. Some of those who believe in this view even suggest that they should bun burn the Bible, a slogan usually used when speaking against its use. Responding to the question of whether to use the Holy Bible or not, one Rastafarian observes:. The Bible is not holy for In'I , that they should look for other books that are relevant. In using the Bible, they should be able to differentiate between what is wrong and what is right because many things were added and left-out when King James came with his own version.

The Christian Bible has been copied from other books such as the Kebra Negus , which is the earliest Ithiopian Bible and, which is the oldest Bible on earth. The Bible is therefore not very important to us and we should instead use writings about African history Chawane Here the St James version is the one being rejected under suspicion that it has been perverted by English influences. According to Afari Rastafarian experience with Christianity is a contradiction in terms, since Rastafarians found scriptural evidence, solace and support for their faith in the same Bible used by Christians.

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He goes on to say about the contradiction that while it might be inaccurate to say that Christians are Rastafarians, it would be equally inaccurate to say that Rastafarians are non-Christians. Another link between Rastafarianism and Christianity can be found in the songs they both sing during congregation. Most Rastafarian songs or chants as they call them that are sung during congregation are taken from Christian songs.

Originally, there were about Rastafarian chants. This number has been growing. Talented and inspired members of the faith created them during the early days of the movement.

Rasta Dialect

The Sankeys Rastafarian hymnbook and African American spirituals were re-rewritten and their beat rearranged to fit the philosophy and the heartbeat of the Rastafarian ceremonies Jahug, 7. Chants taken from Christian hymns were also tailored to fit Rastafarian belief system especially those that praise Haile Selassie. That is why some chants refer to personalities in the Bible, such as Moses and Aaron, amongst others.


Different types of chants categorised by Rastafarians themselves are sung, for example, chants for redemption, revival, ises praises , judgment, repatriation, love or togetherness, burials and sanctifications Chawane Redemption songs are also called liberation or emancipation songs; they call for the destruction of 'Babylon'. The concepts of redemption, giving praises, revival, judgement, reparation and love are all derived from the Christian Bible.

Revival chants, according to Rastafarians, are spiritual and remind them of their past and the main aim of Rastafarians which is to go to ' Zion' repatriation and the triumph of ' Zion' over 'Babylon'. Revival chants are also about the past glory of Africa, Ethiopia or black people.