Essay by raspUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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Rastafarianism is said to have started in Jamaica when it really originated from Africa. The Rastafari arose in the early 1930s in Jamaica. The Rastafarians believe that they are exiles in Babylon and destined to return to Zion, Africa, the land of Ethiopia, where they will live under King Haile Selassie, their God, their Jah. Haile Selassie is represented by the Lion of Judah. Rastafarians have many beliefs, practices, and symbols just like any other religion.

Though Haile Selassie was announced dead, the Rastafari did not believe it. They believed that the white man was trying to shut down their beliefs somehow. They had to see the grave with their own eyes to believe so. Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie has trodden on to the perfect flesh, and sits on the highest point of Mount Zion where he and his empress await the time of judgment. The time of judgment will be when Jah sends the signal to all those chosen to go to Ethiopia and go to heaven.

When Rastafarians talk about Babylon, they are referring to the white political power structure that has been holding the black race down for centuries. The effort of Rasta is to try to remind blacks of their heritage ad have them stand up against this Babylon. They express their struggles by taking a non natural approach to music by chanting down Babylon. The type of music that has originated from the Rasta is reggae. Reggae is a powerful way of spreading the message and beliefs of the Rasta all over the world. Bob Marley was a reggae singer and helped make it mainstream. He is thought as a prophet of the Rastafari. Many Rastafarian reggae listeners could be seen sporting the traditional dreadlocks, and the rastafari colors, a cap, and...