The lifestyle of a Rastafarian is based on humility and being polite. Rastafarian culture is about being in love with humanity and the planet on a whole. We will look into the everyday lifestyle of a devout Rasta man or woman and basic Rastafarian beliefs. The Rastafarian lifestyle is also called LIVITY.
It is a Rastafarian Belief that each man should own their own business. This normally happens in order to preserve creative control over their artistic or scientific expressions. The concept of work is doing what pleases one’s self and to make other people happy. Another reason why Rastafarians run their own business is due to the fact that they used be heavily discriminated against during the early years in Jamaica and were forced to create their own jobs.
A Rasta man or woman may not want to wear a uniform, shave or wear a jacket and tie. For example, being told how to speak and behave in order to keep a job is very limiting. One type of job you will never see a Rastafarian doing is law enforcement such as a police officer. The jobs that Rasta's normally pursue are:
- Musician (not necessarily reggae)
One of the main functions of work in the Rastafarian culture is the ability to clothe, feed and provide shelter without the use of money. Most Rasta's do farming so they would not need to go to the supermarket and expose themselves to unhealthy food and harsh economic conditions. Methods of payments within the Rastafarian culture include bartering of materials and services. Goodwill is also an acceptable payment within the Rastafarian Culture.
The social structure of the Rastafarian lifestyle follows a strict protocol. It is very important that each person is treated equally. Rasta's will have to treat a homeless person with the same respect that they would give to their own family. Within a social environment, there can be no display of aggression. All speech must be positive and encouraging. Each person will be given a chance to express themselves without fear of negative repercussions.
Within the Rastafarian culture there is not a temple or church or an official congregational physical location. There is no official social mass gathering. Rastafarian rituals includes coming together for discussions (reasoning), worship, or to play music. However this is done at each person’s freewill. Rastafarian’s believe in practising an indulgent style of parenting. The child can choose not to be a Rastafarian if they want and choose their own career and lifestyle.
Children are not forced but given freewill. However children will be disciplined into being well mannered, helpful and polite. Most Rastafarians do practice an ascetic lifestyle. This is practiced in order not to get carried away by a materialistic lifestyle. Bob Marley best explains it in the video below.
Majority of Rastafarian's shun mainstream politics. A Rastafarian with political ambition is encouraged though. However, it is unlikely for a Rastafarian to secure political office. This is because a Rasta man or woman is not allowed to use the same unscrupulous or unethical methods most politicians use while campaigning.
There are a couple of popular Rastafarian's who pursued a political agenda. They are now prominent and powerful politicians in Jamaica. However surprisingly, they are no longer members of the Rastafarian culture and have since renounced their faith.
It is a popular notion that Rastafarian's refer to politics as poli-tricks (many tricks). Within the history of Jamaica, the Rastafarian communities were dismantled by the then political regimes. The political system is often referred to as a Babylonian system. So there will always be legitimate suspicion toward most political systems.
The hubbies within the Rastafarian culture vary. Getting in touch with one’s spiritual self and humanity can be considered one of the main Rastafarian rituals. However on the lighter side, here are a number of popular recreational activities that is preferred;
- Playing music
- listening music
- browsing the internet
- browsing the library
- Reasoning (constructive discussions)
- following current local and global affairs
- playing sports (soccer)
- going to the beach or river
Physical activities are very important for recreation. Even just walking to the market to get some fresh air and meeting people. Going to bars or watching television is not considered as constructive recreational activities. Hanging out at a bar is a dangerous past time as fights and arguments can happen. There may also be a lot of negative conversations and curse words being used. Within the Rastafarian culture the television is called the tell-lie-vision. Rastafarians believe that television is a main method of spreading propaganda. It is also used to commercialize and deceive the populace.
- Is Marijuana Legal in Jamaica
Marijuana is not legal in Jamaica. However, steps are being made by the government to decriminalize the use of marijuana in small quantities.
Having a strict approach towards one’s health is one of the fundamental aspects of the Rastafarian culture and lifestyle. The human body is a machine. If it is not taken care of, it will break down. Health would consist of mind, body and soul. The mind must be constructively engaged in order for it to always work at maximum output. This is can be achieved by reasoning, which is having critical discussions about various topics or even solving a maths problem occasionally. Also, by learning to play a new instrument or mastering a second or third language. Relaxing the mind away from stressful environments is also important.
The body has to be fed and cared for carefully. For example, making sure the skin is at the correct PH balance and elasticity.Preventive medicine is important. Have you ever noticed that you have never seen an obese Rastafarian. Most Rasta’s are skinny or slim because they are constantly engaged in a lot of daily physical activities, such as work, play and commuting. Some Rastafarians have never smoked in their lives because they are aware of the dangers of any type of smoking. Natural alternatives are normally preferred instead of tablets. Pharmaceutical tablets are believed to lead to more ailments. Then in turn those ailments lead to more tablets.
There are many Rastafarian's who do research within the herbal medicine field. The soul however has to be given the most attention. For the soul controls the mind and the body. The soul can heal the body at will. Maintaining spiritual purity is very important for the whole system of the human body. That is why it very important for Rastafarians to spread love and always have positive thoughts.
"Food is the staff of life". This is a very popular old saying within the Rastafarian culture. Food is the main medicine to cure any ailment and nourish the body. Most Rastafarian's grow their food. If not, they would source food from a preferred farmer. Processed food from the supermarket is not encouraged.
Even if supermarket food has to be bought, the ingredients have to be carefully scrutinized. Salt is totally eliminated from the diet. Salt is added to the diet from sea plants like Irish moss or from ground provisions such as potato. Processed sugar is replaced by fruit sugars or sugar cane juice. Unprocessed oils is preferred, the most popular being coconut oil.
It is a Rastafarian ritual that dishes are unsweetened and unsalted. This method of cooking or preparation is called ITAL cooking. Ital is pronounced (hi-tal). Vegan based food within the Rastafarian culture is ital food. This is synonymous to kosher food within the Jewish culture. Not all Rastafarian's are vegans though. Rastafarian's that live along the coastlines sometimes may include fish in their diet.
Those who practice a macrobiotic vegetarian technique will also eat fish occasionally. There are also those who are not vegetarians at all. In this case, the animals have to be home grown or organic, with no artificial hormones. Within the Rastafarian Culture, the only food that is tabooed is pork. The pig is seen as a disgusting and spiritual unclean animal. Therefore strictly no jerk pork! Food intake will have to be moderate and tactical in order to ensure proper nourishment and health. Here is a list of some of the more popular ital dishes:
· Cornmeal Porridge
· Brown rice, red peas, raw lettuce with steam callaloo (looks like cal greens)
· Cornmeal dumplings, whole Wheat dumplings, avocado with steamed callaloo and ackee
· Yellow yam, potato, cooked green banana, raw tomatoes with steam cabbage
· Mango, Pineapple, orange, sour sop, sweet sap, nesberries
· Peanuts, Cashew, almond.
This list is a small sample of the types of food because the combinations are endless. The basic food combinations are ground provisions or grains for carbohydrates, then some raw vegetables as fiber, then steamed loose leafy vegetables as the meat replacement. Food is normally spiced with pepper, pimento, ginger, curry just to name a few. Protein is normally from nuts which also serve as energy boosters throughout the day. Fruits are also sources for fat and energy throughout the day. Ital dishes are not exclusive to Rastafarian's but a mainstay in the overall Jamaican culture..
Rastafarians’ believe in having uncut and uncombed facial hair. This is done as representations of the Most High, Rastafari. This is seen as evidence that one has taken a (Nazarite) vow. When Rastafari was first established in Jamaica, not many Rasta's wore dreadlocks at first. After King Selassie I defeated warlord Mussolini during the Ethiopian invasion, the Ethiopian soldiers had dreadlocks by virtue of being committed to the battlefield so long.
After this historical event, dreadlocks began to become more evident with the Rastafarian culture. The dread locks are also a representation of an ascetic lifestyle. The science of renouncing one’s self for a greater spiritual cause. It is a Rastafarian ritual to let one’s hair grow naturally.
There are also those who wear their dreadlocks in turbans, not exposing their hair to the public. This is normally practiced for specific spiritual reasons. Contrary to popular belief having dreadlocks is not a must. Most Rasta's who do not have dreadlocks will eventually grow dreadlocks. Once they start to understand the intricacies of letting ones hair flow. Rastafarians also understand that not everyone has the privilege to grow or lock their hair. This may due to family, socio-economic or biological restrictions.
For a more detailed understanding of dread locks refer to the article: Rastafari: Natty Dreadlocks
Rastafarian ritual includes wearing ceremonial robes or traditional African wear. Some may make their own clothes. The colors of red, green and gold are normally worn as representations of the Rastafarian culture. Tattoos are rare and are not encouraged. Jewelries are in moderation and may be made from natural accessories.
Piercings for males and females are not encouraged. Females do not wear pants and seldom use makeup. Rasta's are equipped with their own scientific expertise to build their own soaps from fruits for personal use or sale. These products are much more pleasant than conventional products. Facials, pedicures and manicures are also done using natural made products.
There are a few Rastafarian's who do not wear footwear and go bare footed all the time. This is done in order to keep in touch with the spiritual energy of the planet or their spiritual preference. This is consistent with an ascetic lifestyle. In conclusion, appearance does not count for anything in Rastafarian culture. The way how you behave and treat other people is most important.
"Knowledge is the key to set the people free", is another old proverb from the Rastafarian belief. Within the Rastafarian culture and lifestyle, all Rasta's constantly educate and train themselves in various disciplines. No matter the age or location, proper education breaks all mental and physical shackles. Attending an educational institution within society is seen as a privilege.
Even if the institutions belong to various religious movements or Babylon it is very important that information learnt at these institutions is tested by the spirit and common sense. This is done so that each person will not fall in the trap of deception. For example, some Rasta's will study law, but refuse to practice law, for obvious reasons of course. Avoiding being misled is very important.
Studying is mostly seen as a spiritual or leisure activity and very fulfilling. If you have ever been to a Rastafarian's house, you will definitely notice a lot of books. The more ancient or rare the book is, the more prestige the book carries. Some books are even secretly guarded. Even though it is a popular notion that people go to school in order to secure a good job in the future, that is not the only reason why Rastafarian's go to school. It is normally done to improve one's self-reliance and realization. Here is a list of popular Rastafarian books:
"Man shall endure forever more". The core Rastafarian belief is that the soul is eternal. JAH, the creator of heaven and earth is the Spiritual head of Rastafarians. The human representation of JAH is
HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY EMPEROR KING HAILE SELASSIE I
Who is the rightful ruler of the universe. Another title would also be
KING OF PEACE
KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
KING OF JERUSALEM
The physical body of Rastafarians is a temple or a church. JAH resides within the temple of Rastafari. Therefore the mind and body has to be kept clean in order for JAH to continue residing within the body. JAH is an eternal force with no beginning or end. Whenever a person becomes one with JAH, they will also endure forever more. Therefore King Haile Selassie I is an embodiment of JAH. The Rastafarian culture and belief has nothing to do with religion. It is about practicing a certain type of lifestyle.
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For More Information on RASTAFARIAN CULTURE:
· Rastafari: Twelve Tribes of Israel: Explains the beliefs of the twelve tribes of Israel movement within the Rastafarian Culture. This article shows how the expatriated descendants of Jacob are now the Rastafarians’ in the west. Twelve tribes of Israel is the movement that is responsible for the exodus of Rastafarians and black people to our rightful home, Africa.
· Rastafari vs Babylon: Explains the conflict between Rastafarian beliefs and Babylon. The continuous and soon to end battle between the righteous and the unrighteous. The wicked will continue to take advantage of the innocence of the people. It is the job of Rastafarian culture to shine a light on the deceptive techniques used by Babylon.
· Why Rastafarians are Vegans: Sparing the life of animals is an important part of Rastafarian beliefs and culture. There are more nutrients provided by plants than meat. In this day and age of hormone induced meats, it is important to avoid the dangers of meat. This article proves the importance of a vegan diet and the benefits to be gained.
· Rastafari: Interview with a Congo Natty: This is a rare interview of a (Congo Natty) Rasta Man. The Congo Natty is often seen as the purest form of practicing Rastafarian culture and beliefs. They stay far from the city and processed foods. This interview sheds light on why it is important to practice this type ascetic lifestyle. Other topics such as money, Babylon and the internet will be discussed.
· The Children are Crying Out for Love: A street child does a touching dub poet about living on the streets of Jamaica. This poem conjures up a lot of emotions. One of the main Rastafarian beliefs is to look out for the children of the streets. All these children on the streets are part of the Rastafarian culture.