Photos: Jamaica Tourist Board
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live life to the beat of a different drum? Then check out the Rastafari Indigenous Village near Montego Bay.
Although different Rastafari sects have different beliefs, some basic tenets are ubiquitous to the culture, including the rejection of materialism, the use of herbs for healing, and a respect of other people’s beliefs.
A refusal to cut hair is also common, hence the dreadlocks that are associated with the Rastafari movement. Many elements of the Rastafari way of life also reflect Jewish and Christian beliefs, such as the acceptance of a single god and the belief in much of the Bible.
When you reach the Rastafari Indigenous Village the first thing that hits you is the sound of the drums and the luscious smell coming from the herb garden.
It’s in the tropical gardens that your tour begins. Notice the hand-carved bamboo markers that identify each herb as you pass by. For the Rastafari, herbs are both food and medicine, and the village herb library contains descriptions of how each plant can be used in healing.
In the kitchen you’ll learn about the culinary uses of each herb and how it can enhance the vegetable it’s used with. The village grows its own vegetables as well, but you won’t notice any farm animals running around, as the culture is chiefly vegetarian.
Not only will you get to sample the food in the village – but you’ll also be shown how the villagers make their hand crafts. You will be given the opportunity to showcase your own skill at various tasks, but don’t be distressed if your results are less than spectacular – you’ll still be taken to the event that for most visitors is the highlight of the tour: the drum and chanting session.
There you can sit and listen to a Rastafari performance as you sample some of locally-grown fruits and freshly-prepared vegan food, and often, when the performance has ended, you may be are invited to join the drummers.