6 Rastafarian Beliefs To Consider

You probably thought that Rastafarianism is sort of a musical style defined lifestyle, best embodied by Bob Marley and other Reggae artists, right? Well, actually Rastafarianism is an interesting phenomenon originating in Jamaica. Note the choice of the word “phenomenon”, instead of choosing to use “the Rastafarian religion”, “sect” or “movement”, despite the fact that these terms very much apply.

Because, as a first example of Rastafarian peculiarity, adherents (known as Rastafarians, Rastafari, Rastas or simply Ras), abhor the idea of division between people (which they think is fundamental to the oppressive Western culture) and greatly dislike such thinking in “isms”. So they are themselves irritated by being called adherents to an “ism”, and prefer to have people consider their beliefs and organization a way of life or philosophy that is open to all.

But there are more intriguing things you might not know about them, so here’s 6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider from a philosophical and sociological view-point if you’re interested in such subjects.

1. Jah Rastafari

6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider include Jah Rastafari.

In order to define Rastafarian beliefs better, one must first take a look at their origin.  Which is probably far more recent then you would expect, in the 19th century. To be more precise, the main ideas of their way of life are borrowed from Marcus Garvey, a proponent of (among other things) Pan-Africanism, who also prophesied in the early 1900s that the messiah would be a new black king.

Enter the coronation of Haile Selassie I (born Tafari Makonnen) in Ethiopia in 1930, and you now know how the Rastafarian beliefs crystallized and started adding more and more adepts. In other words, in case it wasn’t clear, they consider Haile Selassie I to have been the Second Coming of Christ, God Incarnate (again). Which is what explains the Ras Tafari or Jah Rastafari titles which you might hear among them. Ras means chief or prince, so the first title is approximately “Chief Tafari”, by adding Haile Selassie I’s real first name. And Jah is a short form of Jahweh (or God), so Jah Rastafari would verbatum be “God Chief Tafari”, marking him as the incarnation of God.

2. Grounation Day

Grounation Day is one of the 6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider

This core concept of Selassie I as Messiah is why, when he finally visited Jamaica on 21st of April 1966, ~100,000 Rastafarians came to greet him and effectively blocked the plane on the tarmac after it landed, making it hard for Haile Selassie I to disembark. Peaceful and courteous “negotiations” took place between the Rastafari leader, Ras Mortimer Planno and Jamaican authorities interested in guaranteeing security for Haile Selassie I, which resulted in Planno coming out of the plane saying: “The Emperor has instructed me to tell you to be calm. Step back and let the Emperor land”, which finally allowed Selassie I to disembark.

The visit is now considered the second most important moment for Rastafari (after Haile Selassie I’s Coronation Day) and is celebrated each 21st of April under the name “Grounation Day”, due to Selassie’s refusal to walk on the red carpet on the way to his limousine which in the Rastafarian beliefs system symbolizes “making contact with the soil”. “Grounation” is the lyaric equivalent of “foundation” with the word “ground” used instead of “found…” for the afore-mentioned reason.

3. Longing for Zion

The list of 6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider includes a return to Africa.

No, it’s not about the Jewish Zion and the Temple of Solomon. Within the Rastafarian beliefs, Zion stands for a paradise lost by their ancestors, that they would return to. But this paradise isn’t necessarily in the after-life. On the contrary, it is right here on earth. In Ethiopia, to be more exact. Which they believe is the original birthplace of humanity. And the longing for Zion doesn’t necessary have to manifest itself in a physical relocation to Africa and Ethiopia (although that is the stated desire of many Rastafarians). It also means keeping African traditions and culture alive by your actions wherever you are, efforts to which the Rastafarians beliefs system is supposed to be a guide.

4. Temple cleaning

Keeping your body healthy is one of the 6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider.

The Rastafarian beliefs include, like many other religions, that your body is your temple and you should take care of it as much as possible. As such, a Rastafarian will not cut his/her hair or put anything unnatural on/in it, will not make tattoos on his/her skin and will take great care to eat good food.

Speaking of which, the Rastafarian diet is called “Ital” (whose linguistic origin derives from “vital”). The main idea is to eat natural foods and staunchly refuse the processed kind (which they feel are a big component of the oppressive Western system and want nothing to do with that). Also, red meat is considered bad, as it rots within your body. Worth mentioning however, that this Rastafarian diet is not universal among practitioners and variations exist apart from these two fundamental rules.

5. Colors and meaning

6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider - Rastafarian colors

The Rasta colors (or what you thought were the “Bob Marley colors” or “reggae colors”) are actually part of the Rastafarian beliefs system, as they symbolize some things to remember and are also a hint to their history. Because the colors of Marcus Garvey’s own movement were red, green and black and the colors of the Ethiopian flag are red, green and yellow. So Rastafarians take all four (red, green, yellow and black) as their colors.

Their sybolism? Red is the blood of martyrs’ sacrifice, gold is the wealth of their ancestral land, green is for the many plants of their homeland and black is for all the black people everywhere to find their roots.

6. Lyaric

6 Rastafarian beliefs to consider - we are all one.

Rastas have their own dialect called Lyaric which also bears the signs of their philosophy and thinking, despite being a derivate of Jamaican Creole, which is itself derived from English by the African slaves who were first brought to Jamaica.

A poignant example of Rastafarian beliefs influencing even their speech: remember how they dislike divisiveness and believe in the connection of all people? Well, in Lyaric the pronoun “you” (which in their view separates one from another) is replaced by “I and I”. The same goes for “me, us, them, they and theirs”. As for the third person “he” or “she”, they are also eliminated and “that I” is used or the indirect “that man”, “that woman”, “the man”, “the woman”.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

A Non-Traditional Wedding

A couple who opted for a non-traditional wedding in the woods.

Thinking about tying the knot? How ’bout you make that knot as tough and impressive as the Gordian one of legend, by choosing a unique wedding that will surely bring you and your better-half closer together by virtue of the awesome memories you’ll have of the event.

And I do mean awesome in the true sense that the word had before everybody started using it so much it now has less of an impact than that embarrassing relative hitting on the bridesmaids, which in all honesty has no impact whatsoever, since you all expected it to happen when you planned your “traditional” wedding.

That’s probably what many couples have started thinking lately since you can hear of relatively more cases of them wanting to do something different and shy away from the tried and true path of logistical, financial and not to mention psychological hell that a traditional wedding almost invariably tends to involve. Seeing how it’s designed to make everybody happy except the bride and groom.

Plus, as Herbert Swope said: “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: try to please everybody.” And, as an editor and journalist at the New York World paper, he should know since he’s heard a few things, right?

Not having to please everyone is the main point behind a non-traditional wedding.

So, how about you at least take into consideration a non-traditional wedding, see if it would be more to your liking and then start thinking if maybe your family, friends and relatives might not be interested to go along for the ride as well?

The changes you can make for your wedding as opposed to a traditional one can range from small ones like what to put (or NOT to put) on the table, to the wedding vows, to the location (as mentioned earlier), to having a minimalist to the extreme wedding (read groom and bride) if that’s what makes you happy. Sky’s the limit and you are the bosses.

An example of a relatively small change? As a woman, you’re a Trekkie in real-life but not that die hard as to “upset” people on this most important day? Nonsense. It’s YOUR most important day. So if you wanna dress up like a Vulcan on your wedding day (complete with ears), and shun the traditional white dress, go for it.

In Not having to please everyone is the main point behind a non-traditional wedding you can do whatever you want.

Are you two love-birds also endowed with a great sense of humor and believe it to be one of the most important things in the world? Great. Write your wedding vows accordingly and skip the sweet non-provocative versions that usually come up. Spice things up to your taste.

Do you feel like you just want a more intimate, less hectic wedding because you’re both sort of reclusive people? Why put yourselves through the ordeal of socializing with a group of people consisting of 80% acquaintances and relatives you’ve seen once before in your lives and the other 20% (max!) family and friends.

Why not choose to have the wedding with just the family and friends. Or just one of these groups if the other bothered you in some way (although, granted it would have to be a serious boo boo made by a friend or a close family member to warrant you not wanting to spend time with them).

You and your partner are the most important thing in Not having to please everyone is the main point behind a non-traditional wedding.

Or, in the extreme, if you feel like you don’t want absolutely anyone around you on that day, go have a wedding revolving around just the two of you. As your whole life will anyway. And as a couple did when they decided completely on a whim to just go exploring isolated Iceland until they’d find the right spot to get married which they would know when they saw. They went all over the place, taking their time and visiting, until they found a ruined church that was the only thing left (partially) standing after a lava flow from a past eruption. That was it. Perfect for them. So they exchanged rings, said their vows and married there. All alone.

Because that’s what THEY wanted and only they will live and see if it was the right or wrong choice. What’s certain is that it sure was unique and special not only to those who heard about it, but most importantly… to them.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Universal Dream Trips

Hey, you too have had that dream with the afro-haired warthog trying to sell you insurance but then everything gets drained like when you pull the plug on a bath tub and you find yourself floating in the Cygnus star system amid the alien mega-structures and the space dragons, right? Right? No. Hmm. Odd.

Anyway, there are other dreams that are quite common if you take into consideration the many people that have had them along the ages and were polite and conscientious enough to write them down or discuss them with their less than interested friends over a coffee… or… tea… whatever they drank back then…

Some of these universal dream trips will be presented below for your intrigued perusal along with the “standard” interpretations, but unfortunately without the coffee as I’ve ran out of it when serving it to the Devil as we chatted about the state of the music industry. Or was that another dream? …

1. The clothes issue

The suddenly no clothes on is one of the universal dream trips.

Or better called “The case of the ‘Where the hell did my clothes just vanish’ dream scenario”. This dream theme tends to happen regardless of location or the actions taking place. Whether running, talking, working etc. , in the dream, many people have suddenly had it shift to their discovery that they are partially or totally naked.

The common interpretation is that this dream implies insecurity, a sense of being unprepared or insufficiently prepared for something. Or maybe it’s just your inner repressed exhibitionist tryin’ to have some fun.

2. The dunce

Universal dream trips - The Dunce.

This dream features you staring like an idiot at a test paper while frantically fidgeting both physically and mentally to try and remember SOMETHING, ANYTHING! No matter what you do, the dream tends to unfold with you NOT remembering anything that you were supposed to study for the test and the predominant feeling is that this particular test is reeeeeeally important. Of the life altering kind. Talk about slow torture.

It’s usually interpreted as a need of performance for fear of being rejected otherwise and/or associated with an intense drive towards being responsible. Or maybe it’s a memory of those many times you did slack off and didn’t study for the test. Admit it, you procrastinator. You’re reading this article instead of studying, huh?

3. Ruuuuuun!

Being chased by a monster is part of the universal dream trips we all have.

That awesome adrenaline releasing (but not in the good way!), and near-heart attack inducing, epic blockbuster in which you play the prey and some undefined or TOO defined monster plays the main character that is damned fast, damned strong, smart too, and will certainly catch you in the next second. Fun stuff! Oh, did I mention the also common variation of this dream in which you suddenly can’t run anymore or become paralyzed? FUN. STUFF!

The meaning? Stop hanging out in monster residential areas! Kidding. Apparently it represents the fear of accepting the consequences of an action or decision you took, which can also be judging someone badly.

4. Da’ Bling

Universal dream trips - finding money or jewelry

You found money or precious materials like jewelry or gold. Awesome! Looks like we gonna make it rain in da’ club sometime soon, ya know wha’ I’m sayin’?! Yeeeeah.

Don’t get too excited. It appears the common interpretation for this dream signals the exact opposite. Namely, the dream is just your subconscious response to being broke as hell and/or being afraid of never being NOT broke as hell. And it gets better, a variation of the interpretation also adds the hint that you might actually be harboring a deep-seated conviction that you don’t DESERVE to be loved, respected, successful, rich etc. Or maybe the initial interpreter was just jealous that other people are richer than them in dreams. Totally possible.

5. Snap and tumble

The list of universal dream trips includes your teeth falling out.

This one is one of my horrors, as I’m sure it is for other people who have had it as well. So, you’re in the dream world, just minding your own business like any respectable inhabitant when all of a sudden, without so much as a “hey, you’re about to TRY and scream in horror soon!” to warn you, YOUR TEETH START FALLING. And I say TRY to scream in horror because when you attempt it, they tumble down your throat. A decidedly uncomfortable and psychologically crippling experience (yes, scientists have proven that the same areas of the brain are used in dreaming as they are in real life, so, in essence, your brain makes no difference between real experiences and those in a dream…). The irrevocable nature of your teeth falling (fast!), as you are convinced they are in the dream, is also quite terrifying.

The good news? There IS no good news. Didn’t I emphasize the horror of this dream already?! Apparently, it means you’re just concerned about not being pleasing enough to others. OR, it means you’re afraid of aging. I don’t have any jokes for this one. The Tooth Fairy took them all along with MY TEETH!

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Some New York Native Thoughts

Regardless whether because of movies, comic books, games or history, many people all over the world are infatuated with New York and proclaim that they would “die to live there”. Of course, these people love the city from a distance. As opposed to the actual natives or residents of New York who naturally have a more accurate (though subjective) perspective, devoid of all the warping and inevitable misinformation that appear in the media about the city.

In the interest of shedding a bit of light on the complicated love-hate relationship that a New Yorker has with his/her town, some New York native thoughts were graciously collected below. Enjoy.

1. Referencing

When talking about New York, residents don’t call it “The Big Apple” (are you from the 80s or the Roaring Twenties or something?). Nor necessarily NYC or New York. They just call it “The City”.

2. Tourist attractions

The Statue of Liberty is part of some New York native thoughts.

Are exactly that. If you ask a New Yorker if they would like to go with you to The Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty, they’ll probably politely ask you if you’d not rather sit together and stare at a wall, because it holds more interest for them.

3. The cab drivers

Some New York native thoughts include the cab drivers.

Now here’s one thing that was not exaggerated enough in the movies. Yes, most of them are profiteering, self-serving swindlers who will pounce at any star-struck out-of-towner they see. Be informed. Know exactly where you want to go and how to get there. And keep your eyes open for any and all signs that they might be trying to screw you, while in their car.

4. The noise

What noise? You call this loud? This is just the soothing background lullaby of frustrated honking drivers, blaring ambulance horns and care-free swearing. Some cities have the murmur of rivers in a forest, this city has its particular brand of virility. Deal with it.

 5. Jaywalking

Jaywalking is discussed as part of some New York native thoughts.

Is the only way to go if you actually want to get to places in time. A constant mode of operation for any normal resident. Just watch out for the big metal thingies with wheels, hurling your way, as the drivers are also in a hurry to get to places…

6. Not for amateurs

Partying is included in some New York native thoughts.

Welcome to the Major League of Partying. Don’t be afraid. All these rowdy, boisterous and energy-filled people you see around you in the bar/club do transform into their regular job holding selves in the morning. But until then, they will just enjoy the night. And that means until 4am, because that’s when the joints usually close.

7. From here to there

The size of the city is daunting for a newcomer. And you’ll probably wonder how the hell you’re supposed to know how to find your way. But no need to review your advanced geometry lessons to try and plot a course. The layout of the whole city (with a few exceptions) is based on a simple grid, consisting of avenues and streets (the former longer, the latter shorter).

8. No escape

Aaaaah, the smell of Bohemianism and vivacity! And… piss. Which you’ll encounter ubiquitously and will have to brave. In such a big city, it’s only “natural” that some of your lovely peers will think it’s a good idea to relieve themselves wherever they want, and damn your puritanical and absurd conceptions of social etiquette!

9.  Thank God, for you, sir!

Despite the earlier entry on the list with the negative comments, there will be times when you will exclaim the above sentence upon gratefully inserting yourself into a cab. Because sometimes you just won’t be able to find one. Especially if it’s raining or in the rush hours. Still, gratitude should last you at most 3 seconds until you switch back to alert-mode.

10. A house in the Hamptons

What is included in the list of some New York native thoughts? A house in the Hamptons.

This expression has been drilled into you countless times before, through various media, creating an association in your mind of wealth and power for whoever owns said house in the Hamptons. Which is most probably correct, as properties in the Hamptons are some of the most expensive residential ones in the U.S. and the prices of goods and services overall are higher than in New York. However, that doesn’t mean that the Hamptons are a stones-throw away and you can just hop into something and gaze at the mighty (that would defeat the purpose now, wouldn’t it?). No, they’re actually pretty darn far away. Because if they want to come to the city they’ll probably commute via… helicopter or jet-pack or some earth-burrowing cutting edge hot-rod that you’ve never heard of and costs more than your next 20 years salaries.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

6 Errors Made By Foreigners About Hawaii

As a famous vacation spot (among other things), Hawaii attracts throngs of tourists each year. Much to the economic and cultural delight of its citizens, with a total of 14.7 billion dollars spent by a record 8.3 million tourists in 2014 alone, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

And Hawaiians are renowned for being welcoming, friendly and hospitable hosts.

However, there are, naturally, things that foreigners do that irk them, whether intentionally or unwittingly. They are many and varied, but let’s look at just 6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii.

1. Pronouncing the name

6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii - pronouncing the name

You’d think that at least that would be fairly easy, right? You go somewhere on vacation and it takes 30 seconds (max!) to Google how the place is pronounced. Or, worst case scenario, you ask the receptionist of your hotel when you arrive. Or you just randomly stop people on the street and press them to tell you! Ok, the last one might not be that optimal, but you get the point… Well, a lot of people don’t. And just pronounce Hah- wah – ee as it would sound in English (especially citizens of USA). In fact, it has a glottal stop between the last two i’s, hence their presence. Some Hawaiian linguists say that it should be written Hawai’i to mark the glottal stop, while others say (based on historical records) that it should not. Anyway, as regards pronunciation, a phonetic approximation (in English) would be Hah – VIE – ee, with the VIE being pronounced as you would if you were to ask someone to vie to pronounce the name correctly.

2. The view that Hawaii is not in the USA

1 of the 6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii the view that it is not in the USA.

Hard to tell if this one’s made one purpose as a form of condescension, or not. It would be weird if it were on purpose, just to irritate people since, hey, YOU are going to THEIR homeland to enjoy the sights, the culture, the landscape etc. Still, Hawaiians often hear the idea that Hawaii is not part of the United States and they get treated like a foreign country! Weird since Hawaii has been the 50th state of the federation since 1959…

3.  Asians, right?

The 6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii include the races issue.

No. Just because you saw the media reels with mostly people with pointy eyes, it doesn’t mean that Hawaii’s population is predominantly Asian (or native Hawaiian!). In fact Hawaii is home for a balanced mix of populations, including white (around 24%), native Hawaiian (~10%), black (~1%) etc., with Asians occupying about 38% of the population. So next time you get the urge to bow to the natives like you saw in Asian movies, think twice and perhaps, look at the person in front of you.

4. How do you say “I only speak English, no Hawaiian”?

Part of the 6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii is the assumption English is not spoken there.

You don’t. Because you don’t have to. Not because there is no Hawaiian language. There is, and the locals will probably be massively impressed if you learned it and talked with them in it. Those that ARE Hawaiian and speak it, that is (as was discussed in the entry above). But in general, rejoice in the good news that everybody speaks English. Which ties in with the whole “part of the USA” thing mentioned earlier.

5. Food + Pineapple = Hawaiian Food

6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii - Hawaiian food.

Just… no. Sure, you ate “Hawaiian” Pizza and deduced with a logical leap fit for Sherlock Holmes that … the pineapple must be the key (queue in suspenseful music). But really, like any culture with a modicum of history, the Hawaiians have many more types of food with or without pineapple. They certainly don’t all feature it as a center-piece. And vice versa, adding pineapple to something does not magically, instantly make it Hawaiian. Sorry for the disappointment. You can stop making your Hawaiian Strudel now.

6. Huts

The list of 6 errors made by foreigners about Hawaii includes housing.

Another entry that’s hard to determine whether its intentional and meant to portray the Hawaiians as inferior, just happens out of ignorance or even more innocently shows a profound naivete in some people. The idyllic notion that Hawaiians live in grass huts (possibly, again risen due to the soothing commercials designed by foreigners to make foreigners go to Hawaii or due to some poor “documentaries” or whatever the cause), is false. Hawaiians are just as technologically advanced, with all the amenities and comforts of the modern era, as… all the other states of the USA. Of which they’re part of. In case it wasn’t mentioned…

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.