Dread History:
The African Diaspora,
Ethiopianism, and Rastafari

Nyabinghi Tabernacle
rural highlands of Ethiopia

Contemporary Nyabinghi tabernacles in Jamaica are modeled after churches like this one in Ethiopia. An African-oriented ritual known as Nyabinghi emerged as part of Rastafari culture during its formative period in the 1940s (see terminology). Nyabinghi gatherings in Jamaica involve African-derived dancing and drumming as a central part of the worship of Emperor Selassie as and foster a spiritual vision of repatriation to Ethiopia. These gatherings celebrate such dates as the birthday of Haille Selassie (July 23, 1892), Ethiopian New Year (September 17), and Ethiopian Christmas (January 6).

photograph by Jake Homiak, Smithsonian Institution