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What Are Rastas Not Allowed To Do?
7 Don'ts as a Rastafarian

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rastafarian_jamaica_roots_man_dreadlocksWhat Are Rastas Not Allowed To Do?

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Rastafarians follow a pretty strict, inflexible belief system. Of course, there are some Rastafarians who need to follow every rule or guideline. They have quite a few things they are not allowed to do, which may seem surprising to some of us.

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jamaican_ital_stew_rastafarian.jpegRastafarian Ital Stew
  1. Eat Uncleanly - Ital, or "natural" food, refers to the foods or things in their organic state. Ital is "a collection of lifeways that provide a counterbalance to the artificial Babylon system" (Christensen 2014: 142). The I-gelic House house, which resided in the hills outside of the Kingston ghetto between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, was where the Ital complex originated.

    The majority of the foods in Ital cuisine are made up of unfertilized fruits and vegetables. Alcohol, milk, coffee, salt, animal oils, cigarettes, heroin, and cocaine are prohibited for Rastafarians.

    Although vegetarianism is advised, people who consume meat should avoid pork, shellfish, and certain fish. Only fish with scales and those shorter than 12 inches should be consumed. Rastafarians adhere to the same Leviticus dietary and cleanliness laws, which are comparable to the Jewish Kosher diet.

    Furthermore, slave food is often connected with pig and cod. Rastafari avoids eating food from unidentified sources and prefers eating food from their plantations.

  2. Use chemical products - They stay away from products that have been chemically processed and don't use shampoo or soap. Dreadlocks develop when hair isn't combed or brushed, however, some people do.

    Herbs and natural products are beneficial. They also adhere to the Old Testament's prohibitions against tattoos, any form of flesh-cutting, and hair clipping or shaving. Women don't use hair products, wear cosmetics or wear immodest clothing.

  3. Use man-made medicine- Additionally, wherever possible, Rastafarians use herbal remedies in place of visiting the doctor. Their culture highly values maintaining a healthy body free of pollution.

  4. Alterations to their bodies- as mentioned before Rastafarians believe in keeping their bodies as natural as possible and will not tamper with their bodies. You will not find a rasta doing cosmetic enhancement surgeries or even putting on a tattoo. Bob Marley developed skin cancer which could have been cured with surgery. But as a Rastafarian, he refused the surgery as that meant altering his body, a philosophy that the human body should not be altered from its natural form.

  5. Cut their hair- Rastafari adopted the scripture "They Shall Not Make Baldness Upon Their Head" from Leviticus 21:5. That meant "never get a haircut," according to Rastafarians. Rastafarians can let their hair grow out while still looking tidy and clean by wearing it in dreadlocks.

  6. Have weddings- Rastafarians donโ€™t typically have wedding ceremonies, if they ever do, it is not as a religious ceremony but more so as a celebratory event. Most Rastafarians simply forego the event. For rastas, living together as a couple is the only recognition necessary.

  7. Being around women during their period- Rastafarians take biblical scriptures literally. They believe that a woman is unclean during her period and should be separated during that time, for a minimum of seven days or longer should her cycle surpass the seven days.

    The women during that time are not allowed to interact with the men in any way including cooking. This is their understanding of Leviticus 15: 19-24 which says -

    19: "When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening."
    20: "Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean."
    21: "Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening."
    23: "Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, they will be unclean till evening when anyone touches it."
    24: "If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean."

Rastafari holds their beliefs and practices quite sacred and does not tolerate disrespect towards their beliefs, so always remember to be respectful when you visit their camps or even encounter them daily.

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This visit to the Rastafari Indigenous village for their IRITS event is one of the most intriguing adventures I've had! In this video, I interviewed some of the patrons, enjoyed the mento band, the drumming, and yes, some great food! Just a nice positive environment.

Return to Rastafari in Jamaican from What Are Rastas Not Allowed To Do?
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References & Sources For What Are Rastas Not Allowed To Do

  1. 08, S.H.| A. (2020) 40 facts about Rastafari, Factinate. Available at: (Accessed: November 24, 2022).
  2. Ethical guidelines - re: online (no date) RE. Available at: (Accessed: November 24, 2022).
  3. Menstrual cycle - view messages (no date) JAH. Available at: (Accessed: November 24, 2022).

What are Rastas Not Allowed to do? | Written: November 24, 2022

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