One of the most important events in the RasTafarian calendar is the Anniversary of the Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I. This event took place on the 2nd November 1930. His Imperial Majesty broke with trodition by delaying the ceremony for some time after the death of the previous ruler, Queen Zawditu.
The reasons for this are described by His Majesty in His autobiography:
“On the 17th Maskaram 1909 (27th September 1916) I was chosen heir to throne and regent, with Queen Zawditu occupying the throne; and when I had patiently carried out the work of government, for fourteen years, in my office of regent plenipotentiary, Queen Zawditu died on 24th Magabit 1922 ( 2nd April 1930) and, consequently, on the morrow I was proclaimed Emperor and assumed the throne.
“As regards the succession to throne and crown, we have read in history that, at a time when Ethiopia lived in isolation and before she had established relations with foreign countries, the prevailing custom had been, at the demise of the Emperor, for his death often to remain carefully unannounced. They would then place his son and heir on the throne and crown him immediately that very day. Only after the son’s reign and coronation had been announced by proclamation, would they give a ceremonial burial to the dead King.
“At other times, at the demise of the Emperor, the officers of the royal household would take him clandestinely and bury him, before anyone could hear about it, and on the morrow they would place his son and heir on the throne; after they had conducted the royal installation service and crowned him, the death of the father and the new reign of the son would be announced by proclamation at the same time.
But now that Ithiopia had concluded treaties of commerce and friendship with twelve foreign governments, had entered the League of Nations, and had established firm friendly relations, We were convinced that it was proper – in accordance with the practice of the most civilized governments in the case of their coronations – to invite to Our coronation the countries which had set up legations and consulates in Ithiopia. But as it would require a long time to dispatch the letters of invitation and to await the arrival of the delegates, as well as to make all the necessary preparations for the coronation, We arranged for the ceremony to be postponed for seven months.”
“My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress, Autobiography of Haile Selassie I ” – Page 171-3
The ceremony also broke with trodition in that the Empress was crowned on the same day as the Emperor and not three days later.