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Member of a political and religious movement among blacks in Jamaica and several other countries. Rastafarians worship Haile Selassie, considering him the messiah. They believe that blacks are the Israelites reincarnated, who have been subjected to the evil and inferior white race in divine punishment for their sins; they will eventually be redeemed by repatriation to Africa and will compel the whites to serve them. These beliefs, first enunciated in 1953, can be traced to several independent prophets, particularly Marcus Garvey. As the movement grew, ideas of repatriation tended to give way to either black militancy or mysticism. The Rastafarian life usually includes vegetarianism, the wearing of dreadlocks, and the smoking of marijuana.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Rastafarian, visit Britannica.com.