Rastafarianism Essay

755 WordsSep 29, 20094 Pages
Personal Interest Paper Rastafarianism Gen. 101 Lambert McGrath September 12, 2001 Rastafarianism History: The origin of Rastafarianism began in the early 1920’s. Its roots were planted by the ideologies of Marcus MosiahGarvey. Garvey, born in Jamaica in 1887, was a spokesman for the United Negro Improvement Association. He believed that all black people in the western world should return to their homeland in Africa, and is credited with starting the “back to Africa” movement of this time. In 1927, Garvey returned to Jamaica, after spending a decade in the United States and Great Britain, to spread his views among the black working class. In a an address that year, Garvey proclaimed “look to Africa for the coming of a black king, he shall be the redeemer.” In 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned the new Emperor of Ethiopia. Upon his coronation, he claimed the title of Emperor Haile Selasse I (Power of the Trinity). To many Jamaicans, this announcement was the fulfillment of Garvey’s prophecy and officially ushered in the beginning of the Rastafarian movement. Ironically, neither Garvey nor Selassie I was a known Rastafarian, nor did they ever officially support the religion. Organization: Unlike most Christian religions, Rastafari does not have a clearly defined leader. This is also true with Rasta groups. There are groups, quasi groups, and individuals that remain independent in spite of sharing the same core beliefs. Except for two highly organized sects, most brethren do not belong to a formal organization. Also, the majority of Rastafarian worship occurs in rituals. Rasta rituals are of two basic types: reasonings and “binghi”. Reasonings generally begin as an informal gathering at which a small group of brethren smoke the “holy weed” (ganja) and engage in

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