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Switch to Forum Live View Stupid question re: Rastafari
3 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2010 - 9:50AM #1
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,130

Is Rastafari the name of the religion, or Rastafarianism? I've seen both.


Anyway, my question is this. What is the meaning of the dredlocks, or do they have any sort of meaning?


I've heard that the reason Rastafarians have the dredlocks is because they believe that at some point there will be a rapture of sorts and that they will be pulled up to heaven by the hair. Is that the case? I don't remember where I heard that from. Is there any special 'meaning' or is it just an identifier (like circumcision was for Jews)?


Thanks for bearing with me!

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2010 - 7:17PM #2
Bairre
Posts: 122

Dreadlocks are a common hairstyle in parts of Africa, as well as other places.  Leonard Howell who started the Ras Tafari movement in the 1930s didn't wear dreadlocks, and neither did any of his followers until later.  However, Howell was influenced by Indian mystics as there are many Hindu immigrants to Jamaica and Howell had also travelled quite a bit. 


Hindu mystics often wear their hair in dreadlocks, and in many depictions of Shiva, the god has dreadlocks.  Howell saw Rasta as a mystical movement as much as it was an pan-African one.  So, associating dreadlocks to Rasta came as the movement became a more mystical based movement, which happened in the late 40s through the 50s after the Rastas were evicted from Pinnacle.


However, most of my research shows that Rastas didn't start wearing dreadlocks until after the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the mid-50s.  The traditional hairstyle of the Mau Maus were dreadlocks, and in solidarity with the Mau Maus who were fighting to liberate their lands from British Colonial control, Rastas, and other Africanist groups started to wear dreadlocks.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2010 - 7:30PM #3
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,130

So it's more of a symbol of solidarity and unity with other believers than any spiritual meaning? I can see that. It actually makes a lot of sense, since I'm coming from a faith that's all about community and unity. Thanks!

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2010 - 1:34PM #4
Bairre
Posts: 122

Well, it is a spiritual thing as well.  Inasmuch as Rastafari is an Africanist movement, so the politics (within the relm of racial politics) and the spirituality are linked.


Like I said in my post, Howell was heavily influenced by Hindu mysticism.  This is directly where his promotion of Cannabis as a sacrament came from.  Hindu mystics often wear dreadlocks, and so did Nazarites (Samson and John the Baptist from the Bible), and therefore thinking of it as strictly a symbol of solidarity is inaccurate.


It is true that dreadlocks weren't worn by early Rastas, but the Rasta movement was rather small until the 50s when they started to wear them.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2010 - 1:58PM #5
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,130

Oh sorry for the misunderstanding. Do you have dreadlocks?

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2010 - 12:54AM #6
Bairre
Posts: 122

No.


My wife does.  She's had them for almost a decade.

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