Thursday, December 15, 2011

MERRY REGGAE CHRISTMAS (how Rastas celebrate their christmas)

Greetings and salutations! 10 days to go and it's Christmas. Let's spread the peace and love this yuletide season. Jah bless! :)

Did you know?

       Rastafarians celebrate Christmas in a different date and in a different manner. Rastas Christmas celebration is based on the bible and traditions of the Ethiopian orthodox church.They called this special day as Lidät unlike what the Catholic church used to call it. It came from an amharic word which means birthday. They celebrate lidat on the 7th day of January. The tradition came from the Ethiopian Orthodox church which is one of the oldest church in the world. Unlike the basis of the christian church on celebrating the christmas day, Rastafarian culture believe that this is the real day that Christ was born for the feast was instituted by the Three King's arrival in Bethlehem to see the infant Christ based on the bible. I think they believe that this is a better and reasonable basis to know the real date of Christmas compared to the Christian's analytical and Bible based proofs.

     “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him,”  - Gospel of Matthew 2:1-2

          Rastafarian tradition has said that Baltazar (Balthasar), one of the Three Kings, was from Ethiopia, and is often depicted as a Black man even in the West.  n Ethiopia, Lidät is celebrated with a special service at church. The more devout will fast on the gahad (“Christmas Eve”), and the even more devout for 40 days prior. At home, a big feast is prepared. No tree, no snow, no mistletoe. The main decoration depicts the Manger scene, where the Three Kings pay homage to the Infant. Tradition has it that Balthasar, the Ethiopian King, brought the frankincense. And, only children get presents. On this day, children play a hockey-like game called Genna, from where we get the alternative name of the Feast.

         To Rastafarians it is a time to not only celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour in the manner prescribed by tradition, but to reflect on this event in the context of the original prophecy as told to our father , and the expectations of the time of the manifestation of God not only as Priest but King, which the Emperor Haile Selassie  has fulfilled. Rastafarians follow the Ethiopian calendar and start their new year at the month of September.

other Rastafarian occasions:

-Groundation Day (21st April)

Marks the date Haile Selassie I visited Jamaica in 1966. The visit was the only time the Emperor visited Jamaica. A Nyabingi session, inclusive of music, chanting and prayer is held to mark the occasio. They also smoke herb (ganja) during this ceremony

-Ethiopian Constitution Day (16th July)

Commemorates the implementation of Ethiopia's first constitution by Haile Selassie in 1931. The constitution instigated a Parliament and resulted in the appointment of a number of deputies, although Emperor Haile Selassie I retained supreme power and authority.
Rastafarians remember the history of Ethiopia and the events that led up to the birth of the Rastafari religion.
-Birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie (23rd July)

Observes the day on which Emperor Haile Selassie I was born in 1892.

-Marcus Garvey's Birthday (17th August)
Commemorates the Birthday of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican politician born in 1887 who predicted the crowning of a King in Africa, and instigated the 'Back to Africa' movement.
On this date Rastafarians remember the important role played by Marcus Garvey in the development of Black rights. The occasion reflects on Marcus Garvey's influential prophecy. Poetry is recited recalling the historical importance of Marcus Garvey. African dance is also encouraged.
-Ethiopian New Year's Day (11th September)
The start of the New Year in Ethiopia is recognised because Rastafarians believe Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland, and a place to which they want to return.

-Crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie I (2nd November)

Commemorates the Coronation of Ras Tafari, as Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Ethiopia in 1930.
The high priest reads Biblical passages and initiates the singing of songs to re-emphasise the importance of Haile Selassie as Messiah. A Nyabingi meeting also takes place to remember Haile Selassie.
       At the bottom line, whatever our religion and beliefs are, We should celebrate everyday as Christmas. Just like what Bob Marley said, everybody in this world should unite, whether you're a black, white and ofcourse, 'kayumanggi' MERRY CHRISTMAS GUYS!