Rastafari & Jamaican Culture

The Arts and Music
The Arts in Jamaica is influenced by “Rastafari “. Some of Jamaica’s top artists, poets and writers are influenced by Rastafarian culture. These artists have produced brilliant painting and magnificent wood sculptures in Jamaica vibrant Visual Arts community. Rastafarians pushed Reggae music to the forefront when Bob Marley became an internationally known artist. Read more about this in the article on Reggae Music.

Miss Lou was one of the early pioneers trying to preserve Jamaican culture especially ‘patois’. Jamaican patios is now sprinkled with ‘rasta’ terminology. The Rastafarian culture has helped to galvanize the use of Jamaican patois as a means to rebel against a society where the dialect is sometimes looked upon as being “un-cultured”. The use of the word “I” and ‘I-an-I” is sprinkled across Rastafarian terminolgy and has its roots in the self emphasis which many black people were denied during oppression and slavery. The use of the word Jah (Psalm 68 vs 4) for God which is used by Rastafarians is now used by many Jamaicans. Other examples are the use of the word “babylon” for any type of establishment and “Idren” for children.

Red, Green and Gold (Yellow)
The colors of the Ethiopian flag (red, green, yellow) are now popularly identified with Rastafarians. Ironically many foreigners associate these colors with Jamaica and are sometimes surprised when they realize that these are not the colors in the Jamaica flag. The original colors adopted by Rastafarians were Red, Black and Green.

The dreadlocks hairstyle popularized in Western culture by Rastafarians has become universally identified with Jamaica and Reggae. People from all walks of life use it as a symbol of protest or as “going natural”. Read more about this in the article on Dreadlocks.

Medicinal use and study of herbs has been advanced by the Rastafarian movement. Once only reserved to “Herbalist” in the countryside of Jamaica, the Rastafarian movement took the practice of using herbs to all aspects of the Jamaican population. Their adherence to natural medication and their many uses of marijuana has provided a stepping stone for many scientific studies of many of the herbs in Jamaica. They have been at the forefront of the legalization of Ganja worldwide for use in their religion and also for medical purposes.

Natural food and drinks called ‘Ital’ food by Rastafarians has influenced Jamaica’s culinary arts. For more information please go to the articles on Ital Food. The name [LINK:]Ital is derived from the word vital.

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Staff Writer