Rastafarian all over the world will celebrate Christmas tomorrow on 7th January. In Malawi, such celebrations will take place in different congregation centers of Rasta’s which are known as Nyabhingi houses.
Rastas do not recognize the Gregorian calendar which was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII and is used by most of the world’s population. Instead, they use the ancient Julian calendar which also known as the Ethiopian calendar. There are thirteen months in the Ethiopian calendar and Christmas is celebrated on the 7th January of the Gregorian calendar. The Ethiopian Orthodox church also celebrates Christmas on the same date. For rastas, the celebration is comprised of prayers, songs known as Nyabhingi chants, reasoning, bible reading, spiritual meditation just to mention a few.
Ras Keyman Noah, who is one of Nyabhingi rastas based in Lilongwe told Malawi Morning that rastas across the country are prepared to celebrate Christmas on 7th January. He said in the central region, rastas will have a big gathering at the Nyabhingi house situated near Kamuzu institute of sports. Likewise, in the Southern region rastas will congregate at Chileka bhingi house, Bangwe and other houses. In Mzuzu rastas will gather at Kaning’ina and Gesha houses respectively. The congregation will last for three days or more.
After the celebration, Rasta’s will embark on doing charity of different kinds. “After such celebrations will normally do some charity work because this is exactly what Jesus Christ used to do. He used to heal the sick, feed the hungry, free the oppressed, waking up the dead and more, so we have to practice what he taught us”, said Ras Keyman Noah. He also said that Rasta’s follow ancient Ethiopian history which tells us that the oldest version of the bible was from Ethiopia and Africa as a whole. He said the other versions of the bible are revised and the content is taken from the original Ethiopian version and that’s why Rasta’s celebrate Christmas on 7th January based on the ancient Ethiopian calendar.
The Rastafarian movement is an ancient African levity which be known to the world in the 1960’s because of the influence of the Jamaican Rasta elders and musicians like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and others. Rasta’s recognize Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia as the incarnation of God. The name Haile Selassie means Power of the Trinity. Rasta’s wear dreadlocks and are strict vegetarians. They do not take alcohol but they use marijuana for meditation and spiritual purposes.