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A Rasta can be identified by his long dreadlocks, which are synonymous with Rastafarian religion. This emerged in the 1920s and 1930s through the teachings of Marcus Garvey, who lead the "Back to Africa" movement. Rastas typically tie their hair up in a turban, and wrap it in colorful material.

History of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks are grown by a Rasta as patronage to his or her African roots. It is thought that a Rasta is replicating the appearance of the lion's mane, representing strength, Africa, Ethiopia and the Lion of Judah. According to Rastas, it is biblical command not to cut one's hair. As such, the hair can grow really long and the dreadlocks need tying up in a turban. "Bobo Shanti" is a specific sect of the Rastafarian religion in which people wrap their dreads up tightly in a turban.


To tie his hair up in a turban, a Rasta needs an elastic band to secure the bulk of the dreadlocks in a ponytail. It is possible to do this by wrapping one dreadlock around the others and tying it in place. A large piece of fabric measuring about 100 inches by 45 inches is also necessary. Often, a Rasta uses fabric with gold, green and red on it to symbolize the Jamaican flag. Finally, a mirror is useful so that the Rasta can see what he is doing. A reflection in a glass window is just as effective.

Wrap a Turban

First, the Rasta ties his dreadlocks up in a high ponytail. Then, he places the length of material around his shoulders. He lifts the back edge of the fabric up and over his head, so that it now rests on top of the head. Then, the each end of the fabric is flicked over its respective shoulder. These are brought together at the nape of the neck, and twisted several times to tighten the material around the dreadlocks. Finally, the two ends of material are wrapped over the top of the head and tied securely.

Dread Wrap with a Ponytail

The dread wrap with a ponytail is a useful way of tying up dreads, without securing them in a turban. A Rasta with really long and heavy dreads might favor this option. First, the hair is tied into a high ponytail. Then, the fabric is wrapped around the top of the ponytail. The Rasta continues to wrap the fabric around the head, toward the forehead. When there is a short amount of fabric remaining, it is pulled around the back of the head and tucked into the section below the bottom of the ponytail, out of the way.

About the Author

Verity Jones

Verity Jones is an English literature graduate who has been writing for over five years. Her work has been featured in local publications, national parenting magazines and online portals such as You and Your Family, and Mum Plus One. Jones holds a qualification in interior design.