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Religious Education

School Based

Candidate Name: Tavia Bishop

Candidate Number:
Center #:100138
Territory: Jamaica
Year: 2015 - 2016
Teacher: Mrs. Wheatle

Table of Content




Statement of Aims

Information Collection

Summary of Findings

Interpretation and Analysis of Data




I would like to take this opportunity to thank the almighty God, who through Him all things are
possible. I would also like to express my gratitude towards all the persons who have assisted me
throughout the completion of my research. To my teacher Mrs.Wheatle for her guidance,
patience and motivation. My classmates for their undying competition. My mother, Camille
Lewis for allowing me the time to explore and investigate data. And at last but not least my aunt
Venessa Ferguson for her insights.

Rastafari is an afro-centric religious and social movement based in the Caribbean island of
Jamaica. The Rastafarian symbols are important tools to the Rastas and their religion. A massive
amount of Rastas see it as a way of life rather than a religion, they do not like to be referred to

as ism. As a result of this the researcher did a research in order to find out, the origin of each
symbol, to identify the main symbols and how they are used.

Statement of aims
Topic: The Rastafarian main symbols and their importance
It is the intention of the researcher to:
1 identify the main symbols of Rastafarians.
2. Find out the origin of each symbol.
3. To investigate how each symbol is used.

Information Collection
This criterion includes the description of how, when and where information was collected,
including instruments or questionnaires if any were used. Library research is acceptable. For this
researcher several means were used to collect data. Data was collected by internet, interview,
books and observation but no questionnaire.
How information was collected

Bridgeport branch library

Time span:
Start: Monday, September 28, 2015
Finish: Friday, October 9, 2015
Secondary Data
Where was information collected?
The internet; Books
Primary Data
Information was collected by:
Interview and observation of a Rastafarian woman

Summary of Findings
According to slideshare.net, Rastafari is an afro-centric religious and social movement based
in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Wikipedia went further in saying that Rastafarianism is an
Abrahamic belief which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s following the coronation of Halie
Selassie I as emperor of Ethiopia in 1930. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, emperor of
Ethiopia (ruled 1930-1974), much in the same way as Jesus in his Second Advent, or as God the
There are five main symbols used in Rastafarianism, namely: colors, lion, ganja or marijuana,
dreadlocks and food. Each symbol has its own origin. The Rastafarian colors are red, green and
gold originates from the flag of Ethiopia. The lion originates from the Tribe of Judah. Ganja
originated in India and it is said that dreadlocks originated in Kemet found in Africa. Stated by

the website assatashakur.org. Wikipedia stated Food approved for Rastafarians is called Ital,
reflects its origin in Jamaica.
All these symbols are used differently. The colors are red which is for blood, gold is for the
minerals and resources and green is for the land. The use of these colors represents the peoples
allegiance to Africa and a return to their Ethiopian homeland. The colors are displayed
prominently on houses, temples, vehicles and clothing to create unity among the believers. Based
on observation Rastas actually condemn the use of marijuana simply to get high. Instead, it is
usually used within religious ceremonies in a highly ritualized manner in order to enhance
feelings of unity and help generate visions of a spiritual and smoothing nature, marijuana or
ganja is also used to help the follower go into a trance-like state. The dreadlocks are used as a
symbol of African pride, Rastas maintain that locks are required by Leviticus 21:5. The
dreadlocks also represents the lions mane. The lion is used as a symbol of strength, courage and
braveness. The most important symbol of Rastafarians is the lion. It represents Haile Selassiethe conquering Lion of Judah. The lions picture is seen on the houses of brethren; on their flags;
in their tabernacles; inside their homes and in other significant places. The lion also represents
the King of Kings as it is known to be the King of all animals. The lion is a symbol of courage.
It is seen as a guard to all Rastas. Haile Selassie wore a Lion of Judah ring that was given to Bob
Marley at the time of Selassies death. Rastas approve an Ital diet, they do not eat any meat kind.
Rastafarians do not eat meat, they are strictly vegetarians. Their diet has to be natural; therefore
no artificial food is used. Only a few dairy products are eaten. Rastas diet consists of Ital food,
which means they do not use salt. Their favorite dish is rice and peas cooked in natural coconut
milk and natural spices. Vegetables are then added. Rastas diet also consists of plenty nuts,
beans and fruits. They boil herbs and roots and use these as tonics.

of information collected
From information collected the Rastafarian system is not seen as a religion but as a way of life.
Rastafarians do not like to be referred to as ism. The way of life started in the Caribbean island
Jamaica. The Rastafarians colors are red, green and gold. These colors appear everywhere Rastas
reside. They are even painted on the trunk of trees in their yards. These colors are visible on
almost every Rastafarian symbol. The Ethiopian flag, which is one such symbol, was taken from
Marcus Garveys movement. The most important symbol of all is the lion. This represents Halie
Selassie the conquering lion of Judah. When people embrace the traits of lion, such as selfconfidence and assertiveness, they reclaim their African identity and strength. Rastafarians
believe that natural food, herbs and ganja (marijuana) symbolize the ability of man to be
sustained by Gods creations and a rejection of forced modernity. Ganja is of great importance to

Rastas, it was created by God for the use of humanity. Rastafarians are committed to a natural
lifestyle based on the idea that the earth brings forth all good things that should be used in their
natural state as intended by Jah. While they typically stick to a vegetarian diet. Herbs are often
used in the religion for the purpose of healing.

From my research I can conclude that the Rastafarian symbols are of great significance to
Rastafarians being a way of life. Being a religion which rose from the severe depression, racism
and class discrimination during 1930, they take great emphasis in their symbols and use them as
a reminder and a presence of Jah. We can now see the importance of these symbols and also the
origin of the Rastafarian way of life. Rastas purely believe in natural substances and they also
play a major role in their day to day living. They believe the body should be treated with respect
and should never be harmed.
With the colors being the most important symbol, it is of three bands of red, gold and green. It
can be seen in almost every home or dwelling of any Rastafarian. Rasta encourages a life of
simple purity and the avoidance of accumulation of material goods and social climbing. The true
Rastas eat only I-tal food. I-tal food is unique because it is not chemically processed, it is
completely natural. Dreadlocks is another important symbol worn by the members of the
Rastafarian religion. It is a narrow ropelike strand of hair formed by matting or braiding, which
people outside of the religion easily use to identify Rastafarians. But you dont have to dread to
be Rastafarian. Observing the Rastafarians, the lion can be seen sometimes on theirs turbans,
clothes, flags, and at the top of their staffs.

Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net
October 4, 2015