What’s a Rastafari?

With recent news that rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg has decided to become a Rastafari, start singing reggae and change his name to Snoop Lion, there are a lot of questions about this Jamaican religion.

The Rastafari movement had its roots here in Jamaica back in the 1930s.  It grew out of a blend of old African beliefs and Christian traditions, and it was embraced as a push for freedom.

One of the cornerstone beliefs of the Rastafari movement is that oppression will end. Of course, the world’s most famous Rasta was reggae legend Bob Marley, who sang beautifully about emancipation in his “Redemption Song”.

Rastafaris believe in God, and put the value on the individual.  There are no formal churches or clergy.  Because so many Jamaicans have moved to live in every corner of the world, there are about a million people who claim themselves as Rasta living all over the place.

This belief system is one of the many interesting ways that cultures have come together here in Jamaica and have blended to create something new.  You can see it in the food, which is a blend of British, Indian and Caribbean flavors, and you can hear it in the music, which is a unique mix of African, Caribbean and North American sounds and rhythms.

If you plan on a Jamaica villa rental, you can experience some of these unique blend first hand.  Right in Montego Bay, you can drop by the Rastafari Indigenous Village to learn more about the philosophy and culture of the Rastas. There’s a vegetarian restaurant and lots of crafts and drumming as well.  It’s a fascinating glimpse into a uniquely Jamaican way of life.