Home  >>  Write  >>  Religion and Spirituality  >>  Religions of the World  >>  Rastafarianism



The original Rastafarians drew their inspiration from the teachings of the Jamaican Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey who lived from 1887 until 1940.

In the 1920s Garvey preached that a black king would be crowned in Africa and many of his followers rejoiced when they saw this prophecy fulfilled in the 1930s with the crowning of Ras Tafari (crowned Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia).

As part of his teachings Garvey promoted the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). This association concentrated on uniting black people with Africa, which he said was their rightful homeland.

Garvey preached to his followers that all black people in the western world should return to Africa (Ethiopia specifically) to get back in touch with their ancestors. He called this idea the ”Back to Africa” movement. This movement was organized to liberate people after years of oppression.

Rastafarianism is rooted in the principles of black self-reliance and self-empowerment combined with a ”back to Africa” consciousness, which concentrates on the awakening of a sense of black pride.

The two most basic beliefs of Rastafarians (or Rastas) are first that Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) is the Messiah and second that Africa (Ethiopia in particular) is the Promised Land.

Rastafarianism does not have a clearly defined leader or place of organized worship. Rastafarian meetings usually begin as informal street gatherings that escalate into religious services but most Rastafarians refuse to join a specific organization for fear of losing any part of their freedom or autonomy.

Although people have been practicing Rastafarianism for many decades the religion became known worldwide in the 1970s with the Rastafarian reggae of Bob Marley. Marley is credited with capturing the essence of Rastafarianism in his lyrics and introducing these principles to audiences in every corner of the earth.