Rasta Clothing

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Womens Jamaican Rasta Ruffled Long Sleeve Jacket

What is Rastafari?

Haile Selassie was born Tafari Mekanon in the late 1800’s in the African country Ethiopia. He was crowned king, or “Ras” Tafari in the 1930’s, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Marcus Garvey decades earlier who prophesized, “look to the east for the coming of a black king.”

Marcus Garvey is considered in the Rastafarian movement as the biblical Moses since he was one of the greatest advocates of Black repatriation in the Western World but he also prophetically introduced and announced the coming of the Messiah. When the Rasta heard of the crowing of King Selassie, they knew Marcus’s prophecy was being fulfilled.

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Early Rastafarians were not accepted by the Jamaican population at large. They were looked at as dirty and grimy men that lived in the hills and used drugs, mainly Ganja, spoke against the government and believed in Jah Rastafari over Jesus. Many early rastas where persecuted by their Jamaican countrymen for their religious believes. Rastas where also targeted by the police and government officials since they did not follow the with the “clean cut” majority and where known to use ganja.

Early accusations where made against the Rastafarian’s in the 30’s and 40’s as criminals and many robberies, murders, rapes and other crimes where pinned on the early rastas without any proof. Discrimination continued throughout the ensuing decades as families ties where broken when members joined the Rastafarian’s and police where known to kidnap rastas, cut their dreadlocks off and return them to their homes with shaved heads.

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Discrimination Against Rastas

The Rastas, though, where peace loving, and positive people, who practiced more moral good than many Jamaicans who discriminated against them. Strict Rastafarian’s do not use alcohol, and Jamaica is well known for its spicy rums. Strict Rastafarian’s do not eat red meet either, and Jamaicans are also known for barbecued meets. These rasta men practice a lifestyle that is similar to the biblical tradition of the Nazarenes where they would take abstinence against many of lives pleasures. As the 1950’s approached Jamaica – Rastafarianism was become more and more popular and soon the nyabinghi warrior sounds that were being chanted in the hills of Jamaica by rastas was about to make an entry to the city and Jamaican pop culture and soon the world.

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Jamaicans have always had an extreme love for music. Weather it be the rock and roll sounds that came from America or the tribal beats that many of the decedents of the African slaves have kept boiling in their blood, Jamaica united the musical traditions of many cultures. From Rock-steady to Ska came Reggae music. The islands biggest claim to fame. And it was through the Reggae music of Jamaica that the Rastafari movement was to spread its message around the world in the form of a musical prophet the world knows as Robert Nesta Marley.

Importance of Bob Marley in Rastafarianism

Bob Marley began his musical career before he converted to Rastafarian. But it was through his spiritual transformation that his music took a serious shift and headed to the direction of international stardom and associating Jamaica, a little known island in the Caribbean, as being the birthplace of reggae and the birthplace of Marley. Marley’s ability to sing and unite harmonious rhythms of voice, beats and instrument has had millions of people wondering if he was indeed sent by Jah to inform the people. Like a messenger from God Marley would sing to his fellow man songs of joy, songs of love, songs of pain, and songs of freedom. And it was through this style and skill that dubbed him the “king of reggae” – a thrown that will never be taken over.

Rasta music is roots music. Music that carries the nyabinghi beat of the warrior ancestors from Africa. Rasta music is fire music. Music that will ignite your heart and fill your soul with warmth and wonder. Rasta music is Reggae music, and the spiritual guidance comes from the creator of the universe Jah Rastafari. Jah Live.

One style of rasta clothing that has recently been trending is reggae wear. Reggae wear has gained recent attention and notoriety due to the famous Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley. What most people do not realize is that there is much more behind reggae wear than being a fashion choice, instead it is symbolic of the Rasta movement and a reflection of their culture.

The Rasta movement is also known as the Rastafarian movement, and is followed by those that believe that the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, Haile Selaise I, was the reincarnation of Jesus. Despite its growing following worldwide Rasta is not considered an organized religion, instead it is more of a culture. This Rasta culture has a very strong African contingent as most of the initial followers of the Rasta movement were former slaves. This fact is most evident from modifications to the English language that is used in the Rasta movement. As many of the initial followers felt like their native language was taken away from them when they were put into captivity, and therefore have slightly modified the English language.

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Now that you better understand the Rasta movement, you are probably wondering why a follower of the Rasta movement is easy to recognize and what is behind rasta clothing. The most commonly associated thing with rasta wear is the colors green, gold, and red. These were the colors of the Ethiopian flag, and are meant to honor Emperor Haile Selaise I. These colors were also an important part of the Marcus Garvey movement. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political figure that lived between the years 1887 and 1940. He is viewed by followers of Rasta as a religious prophet, and is held in particularly high regard for catalyzing the movement of previously enslaved Africans back to their homeland. In his movements he used red to signify the blood of the martyrs and green to symbolize Ethiopia’s vegetation and the gold symbolizes the wealth of the African continent that they will witness upon their return.

The Rasta movement is a large cultural movement that connects many otherwise unrelated people throughout the world. This complexity and meaning of the Rasta movement is often overlooked as people often chose to look just at their spiritual use of cannabis. The next time you pick up a piece of reggae wear, you will know that what you are wearing means much more than what meets the eye.

If you are interested in finding out more about Rastafari, check out our blog and also our rasta clothing.

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