Compliments of the New Year

Ibo Foroma : Rastafarian Perspectives

ACCORDING to the Ancient Egyptian and Ethiopian calendar, it is only seven days into the New Year and Nyabinghi Theocratic Order brethren and sistren are still partying and screaming “Melkam Addis Amet!” (Happy New Year).The Holy celebrations accompanying this age old festival kick-started last Friday night and ended on September 11.

The same date is 1 Maskaram 7509 and today is 8 Maskaram/Meskerem 7509 on the Ethiopic calendar.

Throughout the country, continent and beyond, Nyabinghi Kings and Queens, as they affectionately identify themselves, gathered around Jah-Jah rainbow circle throne and chanted praises unto the ever-living and ever-loving JAH RasTafari till they dropped.

The event was a must attend at the Dzimbadzemabwe Nyabinghi House Glen Norah.

Majestically draped in dazzling white and rainbow colours embalmed in fragrant natural ointments and fragrances of all sorts, the children of Jah (Jahidren) enjoyed this age old festival of Ancient African origin in style.

From far and wide, nearly every true Rasta was there, including those that had gone awol (away without official leave).

The occasion simply demanded one to dress as royal.

Nyabinghi women or daughters are obliged to cover their heads at Binghi grounds. Binghi men or sons are obliged to uncover their crowns as they affectionately call their dreadlocks (antennas/radar/lions-mane.)

The ladies were covered in long skirts, dresses and African attires. Nyabinghi gatherings are not miniskirt events were manners are to be slaughtered.

Dress length is not too strict, long serving Empresses know best which length is comfortable for the occasion.

From the new-born baby Rastas to the granma and granpa Rastas, everyone had the experience of a lifetime.

Actually, never had I seen so many Rastafarians gathered in one place before.

It was a sight to see, brethren and sistren of all ages with dreadlocks so long, as thick as can be, styles more numerous than stars and beards bigger than Father Christmas’.

They trooped the holy hills in their numbers.

You should have been there Rasta, makaruzirira Rasta!

Have I mentioned fresh fruits and vegetables? Me tell yumon, there was more ital than grassroot an blade! Nyabinghi Ras-Tafarians are strict vegetarians hence when they gather no animal or animal product is consumed.

Even at home, school or work and throughout life.

Rastafarians say “there is no death in Mount Zion” and this message is practiced before it is preached. And we never breach it.

Contrary to popular belief, living life the green way is quite simple, tranquil and delicious.

Considering all the ital sausages, ital cheese, ital milk, ital yoghurt, ital polony, ital hot dogs, ital dis and ital dat that graced the event, Rastafarians asked amongst themselves, “not to mention dat it causes obesity and diseases, but why is man ‘kind’ still killing and eating animals and insects?”

Indeed guilty, Binghi brethren deed mercilessly beat the bongo, kete and funde drums like no man’s business whilst sistrens rattled shakers and tambourines, hardcore hoarse and oil lubricated mesmerizing voices competed in chanting psalms and praises unto JAH RasTafari.

Forget reggae music, Nyabinghi chants are soul gripping. They seduce one to sink into an ocean of ease, calmness, peace and tranquility. They are meditative.

Rastafarians perform this dancing which they call skanking, described by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) as “a dance performed to reggae music, characterized by rhythmically bending forward, raising the knees, and extending the hands palms-downwards.”

Whether they be songs, hymns, canticles, choruses or mantras, Nyabinghi “songs” are always referred to as chants.

The whole processes is termed chanting or jumping Nyabinghi.

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