“Rastaman vibrations gonna cover the earth! Like the water cover the sea,” Bob Marley once said.

To mark the undying Rastafari movement in all parts of the world, the Rastafarian Earth Festival will be celebrated once again in South Africa this year. From July 23 to August 11, 2011, celebrations of everything Rastafarian will be held in Judah Square in Knysna, at the Western Cape province of South Africa.

This ten days of music and dancing celebrates the birthday (or earthday) of His Majesty Haile-I Selassie-I and will end on Emancipation day (the emancipation of slaves of African origin). There will be seven days of Nyahbingh or church ceremonies and two days of Music Splash, which will feature the best of reggae beats. Of course there will be lots of arts and crafts, food, and exhibitions highlighting the colorful traditions of the Rastafari way of life.

The Rastafari movement was first introduced sometime in between the 1920s to the 1930s, when Jamaica was experiencing the worst in poverty and oppression. Marcus Garvey is a black nationalist who’s considered a prophet by many because of his work of encouraging equality between the black race and the white race. He used Old Testament Christian writings to support his teachings, and many listened. Then came Ras Tafari Makonnen, who, after his coronation, claimed the name Haile Selassie. Garvey predicted that having a black king crowned in Africa is a sign of a redeemer of the black race, so many Rastafaris who believe in judgment day understood that Haile Selassie is their liberator; that he fulfilled a prophecy.

It is also worth knowing that people who live by the Rastafari movement do not want to refer to their faith as “Rastafarianism,” because -isms could sometimes be associated with others bearing the same connotation as communism and capitalism, which they don’t believe in. Many believe that Rastafari is a way of life, and not a kind of schism. At the Rastafarian Festival, you can talk to the Rastafaris to learn more about what they think, and you will certainly gain many insights that will surely make things clearer.

The Emancipation, which will conclude the festivities, will be celebrated by people by means of dancing, singing, and poetry. Guests will be treated to some bread and hot chocolate, and there will surely not be a dull moment, for everyone is encouraged to dance and be merry.

The town on Knysna has many unique spots that are worth visiting, so you’d be celebrating on a fun backdrop with many activities in store. This place is home to many of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa, and you can do a variety of adventures such as hiking, whale-watching, sailing, canoeing, and bungee jumping.

Everyone is more than welcome here, so whether you’re someone whose life is devoted to the Rastafari way of life or someone who’s simply curious about the faith and philosophy, you will find something here that will surely expand your knowledge. Rest assured you will be welcomed with open arms.

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