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Rastafari, also known as Rastafarianism, is a religion that started in Jamaica in the 1930s. Although the faith was marginalised for decades, it became popular worldwide as people turned onto it through the music of its most famous practitioner, Bob Marley.
Some of the fundamental tenets of Rastafari include:
- The divinity of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (from whose birth name Ras ("Prince") Tafari Makonnen the word Rastafari is derived).
- A vegetarian, no-salt diet (called "ital" by Rastas).
- The sacramental smoking of marijuana (ganja).
Rastafari, or at least the more fundamentalist strains of it, can be extremely sexist, racist, moralistic and deeply homophobic. Rastafarians are highly critical of western society, regarding it as decadent, corrupt and sinful, and describing it as "Babylon", a name which appears in many reggae lyrics. Rastafarianism is also Afrocentric, identifying black Africans, particularly ethnic Ethiopians, as the descendants of the biblical tribes of Israel. Some Rastafarian sects and movements have been explicitly black supremacist, while other Rastas reject the religion's racial aspects.