Historical and Ethnographical Study of the Rastafari Religion

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Historical and Ethnographical Study of the Rastafari Religion

The Rastafari people are a group of (primarily) men that originated in Jamaica, especially in and around Kingston, who believe in being repatriated to a designated homeland in Africa. Through their reinterpretation of the bible, an ascetic-leaning lifestyle, and heavy influence of previous Revivalist religions and African Myal traditions, they have carved a religion that is worldly, conscientious, and , now, world renouned. Icons such as Bob Marley, spliffs, their red, gold, and green flag, and their memorable accent make these people very interesting to listen to, and definitely assist in disseminating their belief structure throughout
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Following a period of nearly 50 years of post-slavery Revivalism, particularly Zion and Pukumina, efforts in Jamaica, some of the adherents were growing tired of the obeah, or the carried over mysticism. Zion Revivalism was more traditionally Christian, while Pukumina was much more varied and allowed for any spirit to possess, thus it was the more influenced by Myal.

The Rasta religion was partially founded on attempts to eliminate these mystical elements, but there were many more causes that formed the religion. It originally rose up out of the black urban masses of Kingston. In the 1920s-40s there was a massive influx of migration into Kingston. Most had no guarantees of jobs, shelter, or survival, but the dwindling sugar trade, increased corporatization of agriculture, and lack of farmable land forced many into the slums around Trenchtown and Old Spanish Road. It was in these slums and ghettos that the early militancy and anger of Rasta was kindled. Some of Rasta's predecessors were very charismatic people and led hundreds of their followers in street services, marches, and demonstrations against the downpressors, those that were part of Babylon, or the white establishment. They rallied around the calls to end European colonialism in Africa, increased the quality of living in their home slums, and the correction of the slave injustice and repatriation of Africans to their
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