Orde of Service & Musical Instruments



How does the order of service go in Rastafarianism?

Are there any instruments used & special vocals in the praise & worship?
Greetings I,

Sorry for the late reply.

The first part of your question is a little complicated. The second is a little easier.

Though it varies depending on the nature of the group, the majority of service music would consist of chants, accompanied with a variety of percussion instruments (mainly conga drums and similar).

A variety of Christian hymns may also be used (many would have alterations to the lyrics).

I'm enclosing a document of traditional Nyahbinghi chants, used mainly by the Order of the Nyahbinghi, but pretty much universal.

Your other question is more difficult to answer, due to the movement's lack of organization. The various services may consist of Scripture discussion, the burning of marijuana, the maintenance of a ritual fire, drumming, chanting, the singing of the Ethiopian National Anthem etc.

One Love


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there are congas, bongos & kettle drums & a rock drum set in our orchestra. it is really awesome to see a praise offering go up on the drums & cymbals.

it sounds like the service is held outside? i mean if you are making a fire and all.

we do this one in our church:

I Shall not Remove
I Shall not -I Shall not Remove
I Shall not -I Shall not Remove
Just like a tree planted by the water
I Shall not Remove

and we did the bosom of Abraham years ago at camp meetings.
This is from the Nyahbinghi elders in Jamaica.



  • Guidelines-from-the-elders-in-Jamaica.pdf
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i downloaded your file to see, but cant get it to open with any program.
Pathless said:
Hi Bandit,

You'll need Adobe Acrobat reader to open that file. In case you don't have it, here's a link. :)

hey thanks. it opens for me using Adobe, but it is all jumbled up in packets. would you do me a huge favor Pathless?

put a little bit of that up here for others to read? and if you got it to open successfully, do a copy & paste of part of it & send it to me in a PM?
that would be way cool. if not, that is ok too.:)
Bandit said:
hey thanks. it opens for me using Adobe, but it is all jumbled up in packets. would you do me a huge favor Pathless?

put a little bit of that up here for others to read? and if you got it to open successfully, do a copy & paste of part of it & send it to me in a PM?
that would be way cool. if not, that is ok too.:)

For sure. Here are some highlights:

Guidelines from the elders in Jamaica

The Nyahbinghi Order is the most ancient order of Rastafari, as from the earliest times, when cherubim and seraphim chanted songs of praise around the Rainbow Circle.


Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to all people.


The Tabernacle consists of twelve outer posts which represent 1) the twelve patriarchs 2) the twelve gates of New Jerusalem 3) the twelve Tribes ofIsrael 4) the twelve Apostles. The centre post, the largest of all, represents I n I Ivine Majesty Emperor HAILE SELASSIE I who is the head of the Nyahbinghi Order. Roof of the Tabernacle should take the shape of an umbrella. Portraits of H.I.M. decorate the Tabernacle. No weapons, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or outrageous behaviour are allowed inside. It must be viewed by all as being assembled around the Throne of JAH RAS TAFARI HAILE SELASSIE I.


The altar which stands in the centre of the Tabernacle consists of six outer posts surrounding the centre post of the Tabernacle representing the book of the Seven Seals / Seven Golden Candlesticks. The priests administrate around this altar which is laid with an altar covering of Red, Gold, and Green. Herbs, Prophecy, Portraits of H.LM. and fruits are placed upon the altar. The Nyahbinghi daughters are not permitted to administrate around this altar. The inner section of the altar should not be used for a sleeping room and can be used for a library or, storing things pertaining to the Tabernacle.


The Nyahbinghi Man must abide by the laws of His Imperial Majesty. He should abide with one Queen as a perfect example set by His Imperial Majesty HAILE SELASSIE I. The use of flesh, drugs, alcohol and all harmful articles of food must be forbidden by all. The Nyahbinghi Man is nonviolent, non-abusive and non-partisan. He must be free from all criminal activities as a true son of JAH RAS TAFARI.


The Nyahbinghi daughters, like the sons must abide by JAH Ivine laws. As H.I.M. is the Head of the Nyahbinghi Order the Nyahbinghi Queen must​
recognize her King as her Head. During her monthly issue (a period of seven days) the Nyahbinghi Queen does not attend Issemble or congregate
among the brethren. She must be loyal to her King Head in all things concerning righteousness. She must abide within her home and not be a "busybody". If there is a misunderstanding between her and her King Man, the matter should be brought before the Priest or Council of Elders who will deal with the matter privately and constructively. A Nyahbinghi Queen is not permitted to play the drums at an Issemble but is permitted to use
the Shaka or Timbrel. She is not permitted to administrate around the altar or to prophecy before the congregation. During reasoning she can make suggestions and participate in governmental administration as in the taking of minutes, writing of letters or any other works she is capable of doing, as seen by the brethren. She must be attired in modest apparel at all times and must not wear pants or explosive garments. Her head must be covered during an Issemble or when congregating with brethren or outside her gates. During Issemble the daughters are responsible for the teaching of the children with special emphasis on H.LM. HAILE SELASSIE I, the Amharic language, Black History and other aspects of Rastafari Ivine livity...

The Nyahbinghi drums are played only by capable Rastafari brethren during the hour of chanting. A 'bald head' or non-Rastafarian is not permitted to play the drums. Rings must be removed from the fingers of any such player of drums, namely the Fundeh and Repeater so as to protect the skins ofthe drums. Players of instruments must be in one accord at all times ensuring perfect harmony. The three types of drums are: 1) Bass 2) Fundeh 3)Repeater. The Bass carries the two beat or heart beat 1, 2 in accord with the Fundeh that says 'Do Good' or 1, 2. The Repeater repeats the beats inaccordance with the Bass and Fundeh.


The Nyahbinghi Order in Jamaica celebrates for 7 days and nights the following events:

1. 7 January Ethiopian Nativity of Christ
2. 2l April Visit of H.I.M. to Jamaica 1966
3. 25 May All African Liberation Day
4. 23 July Birth of HAILE SELASSIE I 1892
5. 11 September Ethiopian New Year
6. 2 November H.LM. Coronation 1930
These days are revered as hola days and are free from commercial activities. Other celebrations honoured by the House will take the form of public programme in Parks or Community Centres. These include February - Black History Month, May 5th - Ethiopian Liberation Day, August 17th - Birth of Marcus Garvey. The Nyahbinghi Order also participates in lectures on Rastafari in Colleges, Schools, Universities, Television and Radio programmes in its aim of spreading the message to the four corners of the earth. Participants in these Educational programmes are chosen by the House to ensure that the right information is disseminated.


The Nyahbinghi House (Jamaica) meets every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month for general reasoning. At these meetings various topics are discussed and decisions taken. The meetings are opened with Hola Chants, Prayers followed by an opening remark by an Ilect of the Priesthood.


Discipline, tolerance and Iverstanding must prevail at all times to ensure perfect harmony. Everyone has the right to make suggestions and have their opinions heard at these reasonings which are open to all sons and daughters of Rastafari but one voice must be heard at all times. As words without works is in vain, the fruit of all reasoning must be progressive works.

On a personal note, I think that the segregation of men and women and the subservience of women to men is an unfortunate issuing by the Nyabinghi counsel of elders. On the other hand, Rasta idology also expresses that each individual is to figure out the truth for her/him -self, so the dogma of all of these edicts I would imagine has little bearing on most Rastas.

Greetings I,

Just realized alot of this info is contained at the American branch of Nyahbinghi Order. www.nyahbinghi.org (links are down the right)

Lij Marques Benjamin
IRASCOM Interfaith Relations Officer
i see a lot of use of drums. way cool. it looks pretty organized to me at least from the Jamaican brothers in Rastafari.

i also appreciate the emphasis they have on the Tabernacle & glad to see that it is not forgotten here.:)