If I mention the word ‘Rastafarian’ you probably know what I mean: you may, for instance, picture a man with long dreadlocks or perhaps Bob Marley but most people don’t really know what Rastafarians believe or that the 11th of September is a special date to members of this religion, so let’s look at a bit of the background to the Rastafari faith first.
The Rastafari religion is monotheistic and Abrahamic. Rastafarians believe in a god called Jah who is part of all humans and thus all humans are interconnected. Most adherents believe Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia is Jah or Jah Rastafari; an incarnation of God the Father, the Second Advent of Christ “the Anointed One”.
Rastafari, Ras Tafari
The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the title (Ras) and first name (Tafari Makonnen) of Haile Selassie I before his coronation. In Amharic, Ras, literally "head", is an Ethiopian title equivalent to prince or chief, while the personal given name Täfäri (teferi) means one who is revered. This connection with Ethiopia, which is seen as their spiritual homeland, is very special to Rastafari and this is why they celebrate Ethiopian New Year on the 11th September. During the festival the history of Ethiopia is remembered and its importance acknowledged through Biblical passages and prayer. There will also be a feast comprising of vegetarian or vegan food during which prophecy and readings take place. This may also be followed by sacred drumming called Nyabingi.