5 Connections You Didn’t Know About Ganja and Rastafarians
There are many interesting things to know about the Rastafari religion. Most people outside of Rastafari identify Rastafarians by their long, artfully twisted dreadlocks, quaint half British, half East Indian accents and use of Ganja, also know as marijuana.
Rastafari is believed to have been founded in Ethiopia. It eventually spread to other South African, Southeast Asian, Dutch West Indies and East Indies Island countries.
- Rastafari is an Abrahamic religion that later developed in the island nation of Jamaica. It is heavily connected to Biblical beliefs and specific interpretations of the Bible.
- Rastafarians believe in a single God and that Jah is a reincarnation of Jesus Christ and Jah is the brief form version of Jehovah.
- In addition to smoking ganja, like many religious tribal cultures, Rastafarians also use it for medicinal purposes, drink it as a tea and use it to spice their cooked foods.
- Rastafarians often smoke ganja as part of a prayer ritual.
It was actually a Hindu priest, Laloo, who adopted the use of ganja in Rastafarian religious practices.
There are five connections you didn’t know about Ganja and Rastafarians that include:
When you consider that the Rastafarian religion is influenced by the influx of Europeans who traded in the African, Asian and East Indies countries, the connection to the traditional religion, Christianity, of Europeans is easy to understand Rastafarian adaptations.
Rastafarianism is a monotheistic religion with a belief in one God. Rastafarians call their several denominations “mansions.” Bobo Ashanti and Nyahbinghi are two of the most prominent mansions. Others include the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Like Muslims and Jews, Rastafarians adhere to a specific diet known as “ital” that includes, breadfruit, mango-pineapple juice, ackee, plantains, and boiled foods. This dietary adherence is a result of Rastafarian beliefs that food should be as natural as possible. This includes their cooking pots and utensils made from clay. In essence, Rastas are vegetarians. In the Nyahbinghi sect, vegetarianism is mandatory.
Rastafarians, like many of the Romany Gypsies, believe in the use of nature’s bounty of roots, leaves, and seeds to create spices, medicines and teas. One of the spices used for medicinal purposes by Rastafarians is ganja.
However, Rastas do not use ganja to get high. Rather, ganja is used as part of religious practice to open the mind. This is not unlike Native American and Canadian aboriginal tribes’ use of sage for smoking. When leaves of sage were burned, it was used for smudging their faces and limbs. Sage was also believed by Native Americans to open their mind, decrease stress and remove negativity.
When Laloo adopted the use of ganja as part of Rastafarian religious practice, it spread across the globe wherever specific Rastafarian sects permitted its use.
Although, Rastafarians are mostly associated with Jamaican musician and singer, Bob Marley, their clothing style such dreadlocks, green, red and gold crocheted caps and a Rasta zip-up hoodie have also been a popular trend in the U.S.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.