The belief system of the Rastafarians is that Haile Selassie is the living God for the black race. Selassie, whose previous name was Ras Tafari, was the black Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians live a peaceful life, needing little material possessions and devote much time to contemplating the scriptures. They reject the white man’s world, as the new age Babylon of greed and dishonesty. Proud and confident “Rastas” even though they are humble will stand up for their rights. Rastas let their hair grow naturally into dreadlocks, in the image of the lion of Judah. The total following is believed to be over a million worldwide. Also the belief system of Rastafarianism is somewhat based on six fundamental principles. These included Hatred for the white race, the complete superiority of the black race, Revenge on whites for their wickedness, the negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica, Preparation to go back to Africa and Acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of black people.
However there are several other key concepts to belief system of Rastafarianism. These include Babylon, I and I, Jah, Colours, Ganja, Lion, Diet and Dreadlocks. Babylon is the Rastafarian term for the white political power structure that has been holding the black race down for centuries. Through the past, Rastafarian people claim that blacks were held down physically by the shackles of slavery. Rastafarian still feel that to day blacks are still held down through poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and the trickery by white man. These efforts are trying to remind blacks of their heritage and have them stand up against this Babylon for their Freedom. I and I is concept that maybe the most important tool apart from the Babylonian conspiracy in the Rastafarian belief system. I and I is an expression to totalize the concept of oneness, the oneness of two persons. So God is within all of us and we’re one people in fact. This is the bond of God in all of man. But man itself needs an authoritative figure to lead them.
For Rastafarian people this is Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. The Rastafarian name for God is Jah. Ethiopia specifically, and Africa in general, is considered the Rastafarian heaven on Earth. However, there is no afterlife or hell as Christianity believes. Also they have refined their language definitions in such ways they can gaining independence from others. This is shown below. – “Overstanding” replaces “understanding” to denote an enlightenment which places one in a better position. – “Irie” is a term used to denote acceptance, positive feelings, or to describe something that is good. – “Livication” is substituted for the word “dedication” because Rastas associate ded-ication with death. – “Downpression” is used in place of “oppression,” the logic being that the pressure is being applied from a position of power to put down the victim. – “Zion” is used to describe heaven or Ethiopia, in contradiction to the generalized association of the term with European religious cults. 45 The defining colours of the Rastafarian religion are red, gold, and green.
These colors were taken from the Garvey movement. The color red symbolizes the blood that blacks have shed. The yellow represents the wealth of the homeland. Green represents the beauty and vegetation of Ethiopia, the promised land. Sometimes black is used to represent the color of Africans. Ganja (marijuana) Rastafarian people do not smoke marijuana recreationally, and some do not use it at all. Rastafarian teachers have advocated the controlled ritual smoking of “wisdomweed” for religious reasons or to aid in meditation. The use of this herb is very extensive among Rastafarian people, not only for spiritual reasons as in their Nyabingi celebration, but also for medicinal purposes. Also there are some links from Christian Bible that support the Rastafarian beliefs. These are shown below “… thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” (Genesis 3:18) “… eat every herb of the land.” (Exodus 10:12) “Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred there with.” (Proverbs 15:17) “He causeth the grass for the cattle, and herb for the service of man.” (Psalms 104:14) The Lion is one of the most common symbols among Rastafarians. The lion represents Haile Selassie, the Conquering Lion of Judah. In Jamaica, it is portrayed on houses, flags, in their artwork, in their songs and in their poetry.
The symbol of the lion represents strength, knowledge, and aggression. Diet: A Rastafarian would only eat I-tal food. This is a unique food because it never touches chemicals and is completely natural. The food is cooked, but served in the rawest form possible. Rastafarians are commonly completely vegetarian. Drinking preferences are really anything that is herbal, such as tea. Liquor, milk, coffee, and soft drinks are viewed as unnatural. The Dreadlocks on a Rastafarian head symbolize their connections to Rastafarianism this is also a contrast to the straight, blonde lock of the white man. Dreads do not only portray the Rastafarian heritage, but their adornment is supported in the Bible: “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh” (Leviticus 21:5). The way the Rastafarian people grow their hair has come to representation towards the symbol of the Lion of Judah. Dreadlocks also depict rebellion of the system and the “proper” way to wear hair.