Nyabinghi is a term that refers to both a religious and musical tradition within the Rastafari movement. It originated in Jamaica and is named after Queen Nyabinghi, an influential figure in the history of East Africa. The term "Nyabinghi" is believed to be derived from the Kinyarwanda word "nyabingi," which means "the spirit of a possessed woman." In the Rastafari context, Nyabinghi represents a form of communal worship and spiritual gathering. It is characterized by drumming, chanting, singing, and dancing. The drumming plays a central role in Nyabinghi ceremonies, usually featuring three types of drums: the bass drum, the funde drum, and the repeater drum. The rhythms created by these drums serve as a means of communication with the divine and the ancestral spirits. Nyabinghi ceremonies are often held to commemorate significant events or to celebrate the life of Emperor Haile Selassie I, whom Rastafarians regard as the incarnation of God (Jah). The chanting and singing during Nyabinghi sessions typically include biblical verses and Rastafarian hymns. These rituals are seen as a way to connect with Jah, seek spiritual enlightenment, and foster a sense of community among Rastafarians. Overall, Nyabinghi represents an integral part of Rastafarian culture, providing a means for Rastafarians to express their faith, preserve their traditions, and honor their African roots.
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