Dreadlocks and Rastafari

The notion of dreadlocks giving the wearer superhuman powers is not unique to the Bible’s story. Many cultures held that life energy (life force, Ki, prana, etc.) leaves the body through the top of the head. Therefore, if you tie your hair, it will stop the energy leaking, making you stronger. Potentially, giving you supernatural mental and physical powers.

Until this day, many shamans (witch doctors) from various cultures around the world still wear dreadlocks. Regular citizens wear them too. To them, dreadlock is a symbol of recognizing and showing that abstinence is more important than vanity. Our physical appearance doesn’t matter.

In the same vein, those who believe in that symbology would often shave all their hair completely. Others hold that dreadlocks are the natural state of human hair. As, as they see, human hair will dread when it’s left to its own devices.

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Rastafarianism began to reach the Black Jamaicans. The beliefs of Rastafarianism is based on three primary sources: the Old Testament, African and Hindu tribal religions. The followers of ‘Rastafarianism’ called themselves “dreads,” proclaiming their ‘dread’ and fear of God. Following the footsteps of the Jew and Hindu priests whom they tried to emulate. They started to wear their hair in knotted styles, and that’s how the word “dreadlocks” came into being. In the 1930’s, Rastafarianism began to attract more interest when Haile Selassie I was enthroned as the Emperor of Ethiopia. Later, many of his followers swore not to cut their hair until his return from exile.

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