Lara Mckenna

Lara Mckenna

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Rastafarianism is a religious and cultural movement that originated in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is not just a religion but also a way of life and a powerful social and political movement. With its distinct beliefs, practices, and symbolism, Rastafarianism has captured the curiosity and interest of people around the world.

In this article, we will explore 19 fascinating facts about Rastafarianism, shedding light on its origins, principles, and impact on society. From the iconic dreadlocks and red, gold, and green symbolism to the influence of reggae music and the reverence for Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, there are numerous aspects that make Rastafarianism a captivating and unique religion.

If you’re curious about Rastafarianism or simply want to deepen your understanding, this article will provide you with valuable insights into this influential and widely recognized spiritual movement.

Table of Contents

Origin and Beliefs

Rastafarianism is a religious movement that emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. It is rooted in the teachings of Marcus Garvey and is heavily influenced by Ethiopian culture and the Rastafari belief in the divinity of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

The Power of Dreadlocks

One of the most recognizable symbols of Rastafarianism is the wearing of dreadlocks. It is believed that dreadlocks symbolize the mane of a lion, representing the strength and majesty of the Rastafarian community.

Connection to Marijuana

Rastafarians consider the use of marijuana, or ganja, as a holy sacrament. They believe that it brings a person closer to the divine and helps to facilitate spiritual enlightenment.

Nyabinghi Drumming and Chanting

A significant aspect of Rastafarian religious rituals is the use of nyabinghi drums and chanting. These rhythmic drumming sessions create a spiritual atmosphere and are often accompanied by the singing of biblical psalms.

Ital Food

Rastafarian dietary practices emphasize the consumption of natural and unprocessed foods, known as “ital” food. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, while meat and processed foods are usually avoided.

The Significance of Lion of Judah

The Lion of Judah, a symbol of Emperor Haile Selassie I, holds great importance in Rastafarianism. It represents strength, power, and the rightful lineage of King Solomon and Queen Makeda.

Repatriation to Africa

Rastafarians often express the desire to return to Africa, which they see as their spiritual homeland. They believe in the concept of repatriation and seek to reconnect with their African roots.

The Importance of Natural Living

Rastafarianism promotes a natural and holistic way of life, encouraging individuals to be in harmony with nature and to respect the environment. This includes sustainable practices and living in harmony with the Earth.

Reggae Music and Bob Marley

Rastafarianism played a crucial role in the development of reggae music, which became a powerful vehicle for spreading their message. Bob Marley, one of the most iconic reggae artists, helped popularize Rastafarianism globally.

The Dreaded “Babylon”

Rastafarians often refer to the oppressive system and authorities as “Babylon.” They perceive Babylon as a corrupt and unjust society that goes against the principles of Rastafarian teachings.

Embracing African Identity

Rastafarianism promotes a strong sense of African identity and encourages individuals to embrace their African heritage. This includes embracing African languages, traditions, and customs.

The Sacredness of Mount Zion

Mount Zion is regarded as a sacred place in Rastafarian beliefs, symbolizing a utopian land of peace, freedom, and unity. It represents the ultimate goal of Rastafarians and their desire for a better world.

Self-Reliance and Self-Determination

Rastafarianism encourages individuals to be self-reliant and independent, both economically and spiritually. It promotes self-determination and the empowerment of individuals within the Rastafarian community.

Livity: Living a Life of Righteousness

Rastafarians strive to live a life of righteousness, known as “livity.” This involves following moral principles, respecting others, and striving for social justice and equality.

Redemption and Liberation

Rastafarianism teaches that the ultimate redemption and liberation of black people will come through the overthrow of oppressive systems and the establishment of a just society.

The Role of Haile Selassie I

Rastafarians consider Emperor Haile Selassie I as the divine representation of God on Earth. They believe he is the promised Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies of Marcus Garvey and the biblical references of the Lion of Judah.

The Influence of African Spiritual Traditions

Rastafarianism draws heavily from African spiritual traditions such as Nyabinghi, Nyahbinghi, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. These influences shape the rituals, beliefs, and practices of Rastafarianism.

Rastafarian Symbols and Colors

Rastafarianism utilizes various symbols and colors to represent their beliefs and identity. The colors red, gold, and green are often associated with Rastafarianism, symbolizing the bloodshed, majesty, and lush landscapes of Africa.

Rastafarianism as a Global Movement

Rastafarianism has transcended its Jamaican roots and has become a global movement. It has followers and adherents in various parts of the world, spreading the Rastafari ideology of peace, love, and unity.


In conclusion, Rastafarianism is a fascinating religious movement with a rich and unique history. It emerged in the early 20th century in Jamaica and has since spread to various parts of the world. With its focus on social justice, liberation, and the worship of Haile Selassie I as the divine figure, Rastafarianism has become an influential and distinct faith.The 19 facts mentioned in this article provide a glimpse into the beliefs, practices, and culture of Rastafarianism. From the importance of dreadlocks and natural living to the significance of reggae music and the concept of Babylon, Rastafarianism offers a holistic approach to spirituality and a way of life deeply rooted in African and Caribbean heritage.If you find yourself intrigued by Rastafarianism, further exploration and study will undoubtedly offer a deeper understanding of this vibrant and meaningful religion. Whether it be through visiting a Rastafarian community, engaging in meaningful conversations, or delving into the literature and teachings, the journey of discovery will be a rewarding one.


1. What is the significance of dreadlocks in Rastafarianism?

Dreadlocks are a symbol of spiritual dedication and commitment to a natural way of life. They are seen as a physical manifestation of the Rastafarian’s connection to their roots.

2. Do all Rastafarians worship Haile Selassie I?

While Haile Selassie I is revered as a divine figure by most Rastafarians, not all followers believe in his divinity. Some Rastafarians focus more on the principles and teachings of the movement rather than worshiping a specific individual.

3. Is reggae music an integral part of Rastafarianism?

Yes, reggae music plays a significant role in expressing the spiritual, social, and political beliefs of Rastafarianism. It serves as a powerful tool for spreading messages of unity, liberation, and love.

4. Are Rastafarians vegan?

While many Rastafarians adhere to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it is not a strict requirement of the religion. However, the belief in the sanctity of all life and respect for nature often leads to dietary choices that prioritize plant-based foods.

5. Can anyone join Rastafarianism?

Rastafarianism is open to all individuals, regardless of their race or background. It is a welcoming and inclusive faith that encourages people from all walks of life to embrace its teachings and principles.