on any Caribbean island and two images are sure to remain
in the consciousness of the traveller - the vibrant colours
of the Red, Gold & Green that decorate many roots shops, articles
of clothing and crafts and also that other signature trademark
The Rastafarian movement's popularity owes much to Bob Marley
its greatest ambassador. In Marley's own words - "Rastaman
vibrations gon' cover the earth, like water cover the sea".
For masses of poor, disillusioned and dispossessed, the messages
conveyed in Rasta music's conscious lyrics act like a magnet
to ordinary folks worldwide.
It all began in the 1920's and 30's when Jamaican Marcus Garvey
encouraged Black Pride and repatriation to Africa for the
long suffering slave descendants of the U.S.A. and the Caribbean.
He even started a shipping company - Black Star Liner to achieve
these ends. His interpretation of a biblical prophecy, with
which he promoted his message of "Look to Africa, for there
a king shall be crowned", found fertile soil in the spiritual
imagination of his followers with the coronation in 1930 of
the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I, the 225th monarch
in an unbroken line descending from the union of King Solomon
and the Queen of Sheba. The followers viewed Ras (Prince)
Tafari Selassie as God Incarnate on Earth and began to refer
to His Imperial Majesty as Jah (Yahweh), The Conquering Lion
later, Marley immortalized the speech Selassie made to the
U.N, recalling Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, when he sang
the Emperor's words as the lyrics for his song 'War' - "Until
the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior,
is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; until
the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than
the colour of his eyes, me say War, Everywhere is War".
In 1975, upon the passing of the beloved Emperor, Marley created
and sang the Rasta Anthem "Jah live(s)" as a balm to the followers
of the faith in the firm belief that Jah no dead- "Children
Yeah, Jah Jah live(s)". The wearing or growing of Dreadlocks
is the most visible mark of Rastafarians.
The colours, red for the blood of martyrs, green for the lush
vegetation and gold for the wealth and riches of Africa are
worn with pride and often combined with black, in honour and
memory of Marcus Garvey who started it all with his rallying
calls - "Africa for Africans at home and abroad" and "Repatriation
is a must".
So, next time you purchase an item bearing the colours of
Rastafari, remember the true story and meaning behind its
Rastafarians follow several basic doctrines - a mainly vegetarian
(ital) salt-free diet which includes fish; shellfish and pork
are forbidden, as is alcohol. The promotion of world peace
and harmony is high on the agenda, while global repatriation
remains on a distant horizon. For many years now, a thriving
community of Rastas has been established in Shashamane, Ethiopia
- lands courtesy of the late Ethiopian Emperor - Ras Tafari
Selassie the First.
that's what I'd call a Happy Ending!
- (dee-waal-ee), it's the second biggest national open air
festival held mainly in Trinidad, where Hindu's comprise
the second largest religious group after the Catholics.
The world famous Trinidad carnival, with its Catholic background
is the largest annual event, but the two events share a
common passion for participation and attendance.
Divali is a spiritual, religious, alcohol free and vegetarian
festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness,
knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. Gifts, garlands
and greeting cards are exchanged as would occur at Christmas
of deyas (clay lamps) are lit in homes, streets, parks,
offices and temples and decoratively displayed on split
bamboo tubes with performances by singers, musicians, drummers,
actors and models. Sweetmeats by the ton are enjoyed and
distributed freely and people take to the streets or drive
around to enjoy the sparklers, fireworks and the splendor
of the illuminations.
Bazaars and the crowning and showering with gifts
of a Divali Queen as the best dressed fashion finalist
are all part of the exciting celebrations.
Rama, a most widely worshipped Hindu deity is responsible
for the beginning of this tradition. It is related that upon
his return from exile to his father's kingdom of Ayodhya,
the people illuminated the town with rows of lights to welcome
him back and girls tossed fragrant flowers from windows and
roof tops. Lord Rama's story is to be found in the epic poem
'Ramayana' and the drama of 'Rama Leela' unfolds over 9 nights
on royal stages in central Trinidad at the Divali Nagar.
villagers play a multitude of celestial roles in glitzy
costumes and always you will hear the thunderous beating
of the mighty Tassa drums.
story of Lord Rama has enthralled millions of people since
it was composed some 6,000 years ago by the poet Valmiki.
Female deity Mother Lakshmi is also given special
worship at this time as befitting the Goddess of Light,
Wealth and Wisdom and lamps are lit to invoke her
presence and light her path to the homes of the devoted.
tourism at its finest - Enjoy T&T
Tour Guides can arrange with their Trinidad counterparts
for couples and groups to be escorted and attend the
Festivals are traditional celebratory occasions in Tobago’s
Island life centered around the four mainstream Christian Churches;
Anglican (C of E), Roman Catholic, Methodist and Moravian. Harvest
Time served as a way of raising funds for the Church, parishioners
proudly bringing their best produce in place of monetary tithes.
Houses would be spruced up and decorated, with much baking and
cooking and thanking the Lord for His bountiful blessings. Folks
took the opportunity to visit family and friends and stay the
weekend, affirming the unity of Christians as brothers and sisters.
The Anglican Church tradition, for example, features a Eucharistic
service in the morning when the best produce is brought to the
Church followed by a Cantata in the early afternoon when the
choirs and other talented members make their musical contributions.
The Moravian Church has a long history of missionary work on
the Island, building schools and teaching music, sewing skills
and building trades to various communities. The village of Mt.
Gomery is named after the first Moravian Missionary and the
villages of Bethesda, Salem (De Vignes Rd) and Moriah are names
originating from the Moravian faith, which has sought to contribute
to the general improvement of the lives of Tobagonians.
So, if you would like to spend a pleasant Sunday in the company
of your warm Tobago hosts, get yourself along to a Harvest and
join in the spirit of love and the brotherhood/sisterhood of
Check the Calendar page to see a
list of Harvest Festival dates.