Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why are Rastafarians called "Rastafarians?"

Haile Selassie
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
So most folks have heard of Rastafarians, or at the very least have heard of Bob Marley. But do you know WHY they are called Rastafarians? And if you have paid attention to the news lately, why was Jamaica up in arms over the possibility of Bob Marley’s widow, Rita Marley, exhuming his body and moving it to…Ethiopia? Why would she do that? Well, here’s your “Final Jeopardy” tidbit of the day: According to, here are a few main points to know about Rastafarians:

• Rastafarians believe that God is a spirit and that this spirit was manifested in Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I. Rastafarians believe that they are the original Lost Tribes of Israel that were once scattered by Babylon until the appearance of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I.

• Rastafarians believe that Jesus was a direct descendant of King David and was black. Rastafarians believe that the Ethiopian Solomonic Dynasty is a direct representation of King David.

• Rastafarians believe that God will return them to Zion (Rastafarians refer to Ethiopia as Zion). Rastafarians believe that Ethiopia is the Promised Land and that it is Heaven on Earth.

The idea that Haile Selassie is the living embodiment of god sprang forth from a quote that is attributed to Marcus Garvey (and highly debated as to whether he actually said these words or believed the sentiment held therein): “Look to Africa for the crowning of a black king, he shall be the redeemer.” (from

So the question still stands: why on earth do Rastafarians refer to themselves as Rastafarians? Quite simply, sometimes people change there names: just as John Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI, and Tom Marvelo Riddle is now Lord Voldemort, Haile Selassie changed his name when he ceased to be a prince (ras) and became Emporer. His birth name? Tafari.

More on Haile Selassie:


(jim) Bo Ba Log said...

Okay, but why is a shoe called a "shoe"?

IPW said...

Ha Ha! Reid made a Harry Potter Reference! This is interesting stuff!

discipleassisi said...

wow chris, that's really neat - i like jeopardy.

Jeff and Eryn said...

Sorry- this stuff kills me (I love comparative religions). A further interesting tidbit: the "dreadlocks" that Rastafarians wear are an Apocalyptic reference, in dread of the day when all Babylon (generally considered to be Western society in general) is struck down by God. "Baldheads" will feel God's wrath while "dreads" will rejoice in their newborn Zion. And here, you just thought they were what the white kid in your dorm got because he smoked pot all the time and never showered.

Anonymous said...

why is a dog called a cat