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What Does Rasta Stand For?

07/10/2013 16:41

Rasta Sleeveless Shirt

Rasta Sleeveless Shirt

At Africa Imports we have a lot of requests for rasta wear and rasta-themed jewelry. At first, we have to admit, we didn't know a lot about rasta and what it stood for. As the years have gone by we've discovered more about what rasta really stands for. Rasta is short for Rastafari. Rastafari is a way of life that originated in Jamaica. Rastafarians speak out against poverty, oppression, and inequality. Rastafari is a way of life and a philosophy based on a blend of Christianity and Black Messianic Judaism, combined with a unique interpretation of the Bible and historical figures.

It originated in the 1930's, among the poor and working class of Jamaica. Rastafarians are monotheists, who believe in a singular God whom they call Jah. Jah is seen as the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit. Rastafari’s origins are strongly rooted in black empowerment movements. Some Rastas are separatists, but most believe in encouraging mutual cooperation among all races. While the vast majority of Rastas are black, there is no formal injunction against practice by non-blacks, and many Rastas welcome a multi-ethnic Rastafari movement. Rastas also strongly favor self-determination, based on the fact that both Jamaica and much of Africa were European colonies at the time of the religion’s formation. 

Rastafari began in 1927, when Marcus Garvey, an Afrocentric, black political activist, prophesied that the black race would be liberated soon after a black king was crowned in Africa. Haile Selassie I was crowned in 1930, and four Jamaican ministers independently declared the Emperor their savior. In Rasta, Selassie is accepted as Jah, which is the name for God. The term “Rastafari” comes from the combination of a term of honor and a name. Ras means “Chief” and Tafari was the first name of Haile Selassie I prior to his coronation. The colors red, green, and yellow are often worn together by rastafarians. The colors hold symbolic meaning to the followers of rasta: Red for the blood that flowed, Yellow for the gold that they stole, Green for the land - Africa, Black for the people - beautiful.

To find rasta-themed jewelry, clothing, hats and more you can go to our web site at To own the shirt pictured above, just Click Here.