Top 5 misconceptions about Rastafarian beliefs (They aren’t ganja smokers)
When the word “Rastafarian” sound in some people hear, they think of men of Ganja smokers or people with dreadlocks. Most of them refer to Bob Marley.
In short, Rastafari is a very serious philosophy, which takes a lot of instructions from the Bible. Although there’re people who claim to be Rastafari just to justify drug use, there are many true believers. The public perception of them is often somehow inaccurate.
1. Believe in Paradise
Rastafari relies strongly on the Bible when it comes to their religious beliefs and yet have their own understanding of paradise. Rastafari members feel that they are in some kind of hell or purgatory, as they removed their ancestors, against their will, from their homeland.
Africa is their version of Zion. It is heaven on earth, and the goal of many Rastafari is to return to Africa. It is more a cultural aspiration than purely religious faith. It makes sense after the colonial oppression that so many black people experience.
However, due to the reason of oppression, for most Rastafari, it is not just about returning to Africa. It’s actually about turning Africa into something even better, preserving African culture and glorifying the way of life that many people think Babylonian society was trying to take away from them.
2. Not all Rastafarians are ganja smokers
Many people interested in being Rastafari are fascinated by the idea because it means that they have a religious excuse to smoke Ganja. Some of them may be surprised that smoking Ganja is not only necessary for Rastafarians, but it is not really the basis of their faith. Some Rastafarians simply prefer not to smoke at all.
Snoop Dog changed his name to “Snoop Lion” to show his commitment to Rastafari after spending some time in Jamaica. However, many Rastafari has raised an outcry saying that they see little real faith in his behavior and think that this is just an excuse for Snoop’s love of weeds.
However, while Snoop Dog (or Snoop “Lion”, as you like) may be really sincere, this is actually not the real reason for their anger. The Rastafari already have a hard time getting people to take them seriously because of stereotypes. They are probably afraid that a well-known drug addict like Snoop Dog representing them will only spread this misconception even more widely.
3. Not Vegetarians
Rastafari has a special diet called Ital, a word that comes from Vital. Most people mistake Ital for vegetarianism or veganism. It is really a diet that can change slightly depending on Rastafari’s denomination or an individual.
The Rastafari do not want to participate in the system because they consider it oppressive. For this reason, they refuse any processed products. They will also not eat red meat, believing it rots inside your body. Many people still eat fish because they think it is confirmed by the Bible.
Although some will refuse to eat fish, while others will remove dairy products from their diet and move closer to a full vegan. The basic idea, of course, is just to eat natural products that are good for you.
4. Good care of their body
With Rastafari, your body is considered your temple, so you have to take excellent care of your body. Some of this can be observed in the philosophy of the Italian diet. But taking care of your health goes much further than eating well.
The Rastafari believe that they should grow their hair long and not spoil it with something unnatural. This all comes down to respecting their body and what it is. You have no hair cut, no tattoo your skin or eat bad food.
In fact, some Rastafarians cite this as the reason why they don’t smoke Ganja. Some people think it is personally harmful to their health, so they stop smoking.
5. Created for empowerment
The Rastafarian movement originated in Jamaica, where the majority of the black population was forced initially as slaves from Africa to work. The campaign was launched as a means of empowerment. So it is not surprising that Rastafari, as a belief system, completely rejects Western society’s norms and structure.
For the people oppressed by Western society and colonialism, the Rastafari movement was a way of restoring their own way of life. By rejecting the Babylonian system, which was considered corrupt and despotic, Rastafarians could regain their culture and reconnect to their roots.
You see, the movement was originally very strongly shaped by the words of Marcus Garvey. He would later be considered a prophet in Rastafari’s beliefs. Garvey may never have called himself a Rastafarian. Still, he is very eloquent when it came to black powers and inspired a lot of people.