What’s Rasta, Rastafari, Reggae?

My mother and I love to watch KUERDAS perform. It’s very interesting to note that so many people love to dance to the beat of reggae music. They are practically going wild, having fun, and parting- party!

That’s when I came to ask, where has reggae originated? My brother keeps including in his adlibs the words “Jah“, “Rasta” or “Rastafari” without understanding the deep meaning of the words.

Jimmy Cliff, UB40, Big Mountain, Bob Marley…. These names are BIG in the music industry. One thing they have in common is reggae music. The same is true with Peacepipes, Enchi, Budoy and The Junior Kilat Band, Tropical Depression, Brownman Revival, and here in the city, my brother’s band, KUERDAS.

Dreadlocks, ganja or marijuana, they said, is the look of a rasta. It’s no longer surprising to see musicians with that dreadlock look. This is “in” for reggae fanatics. In the past, the dreadlock look is famous with the blacks. Those people with dreads are known to be the so-called rastaman. For them, how they look is important for them to be “in” in the reggae scene.

Reggae is a kind of music that is upbeat and easy to dance to. It comes from the heart. Here in the city, wherever reggae is, the dreadlock people and the reggae fanatics are there. Everywhere Kuerdas play, people from the different parts of SOCSARGEN, are present. It’s like they are craving for it. They are also the avid Bob-Marley lovers.


It was in Jamaica where rasta was first heard of. Jamaica is a Third World country just like the Philippines. In the 1930’s, too many Jamaicans were hopeless because of poverty, especially in the squatter’s area called Trenchtown, the place where Bob Marley grew up. In this place he saw the problems of the society, in this place too, his words for music was born.

It was said that Rastafarian faith originated here in the name of Haile Sallaisse the First, or Ras Tafari in Jamaican language. He is the Emperor of Ethiopia in Africa. Rasta believes that Ras Tafari will unite all the black nation that will bring them to Ethiopia, The Land of Promise.

Rasta is faith and not just fad in Africa. It was written in their Bible to wear dreadlocks and never cut it. The color of Rasta on the other hand, is the color of Ethiopia, the Promised Land. Everyone thought that it’s the color that’s IN these days that’s why they want to wear it, too. It’s colors are RED, that stands for the blood of the heroes, GREEN for Jamaican land and YELLOW, for the blessings that awaits the Rastas.

Clean-living. That’s what Rasta believes in. They do not eat pork and some do not use salt. If pork is not allowed, the use of marijuana is not prohibited. It is their way of getting closer to God or Jah. In their Bible, it is written:

“The more I accept herb is the more I accept Rastafari. I mean it’s not something that harms, it’s not something that you crave but it’s like an essence”.

Bob Marley is the most famous Rasta in his time because of his music. He fought for peace through his songs. He used music as a tool for his clamor for change. He was also able to introduce to the world the Rastfarian faith.

According to Bob Marley:

The reggae music is a music created by Rasta people. And it carries earth force. People rhythm. Our people. It is a rhythm of people workin’, people movin’.

Aside from its upbeat and danceble melody, Bob Marley’s music is a big critic of the society and revolves around Rastarafian faith.

Undoubtedly, Bob Marley became the messenger of peace, love, unity and faith to God Almighty, all through his music. But sadly, Rastafarian is now a fashion. The people just go with what is IN and not what is really inside them- in their hearts and in their spirits.

There is nothing wrong with being a reggae fanatic as long as you know what lies behind its music.