What is the origin of dreadlocks

Where do dreadlocks come from?

In the ongoing debate about cultural appropriation, dreadlocks, dreads, locs, or whatever you call them, they're making headlines. Do they belong to a certain culture? Where are you from? Here is some background information.

A quick search for the origins of dreadlocks will reveal multiple hits from various sources, but all point to a common conclusion: dreadlocks have been around for ages in countless civilizations and among different peoples. It is certain that earlier civilizations did not own all of the hairstyles and products we own today and most likely walk around with matted hair, regardless of their origin or race.

In ancient Greece, for example, some of the earliest depictions of dreads date back to 3600 BC. In fact, frescoes in Crete, the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, and in Thera (now Santorini) depict people with long braided hairstyles.

Young boxers, Akrotiri, Thera (today's Santorini) | © Marsyas / WikiCommons

Bas-reliefs and other artifacts have been found in ancient Egypt to show that Egyptians wear braided hairstyles (and even wigs). In addition, the first archaeological evidence of dreadlocks comes from where mummies with dreadlocks still in good shape have been discovered.

Egyptian engravings | © PixaBay

Thanks to the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in Hinduism dating back to 1500 BC. Going back, dreadlocks were also known in India, where the Hindu god Shiva called dreadlocks or " jata "in Sanskrit.

Many civilizations in Asia Minor, the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa were depicted in locked hairstyles during the Iron and Bronze Ages.

Historians have discovered Roman accounts that Celts wore their hair "like snakes" and it was known that several Germanic tribes and Vikings wore dreadlocks. The Aboriginal and indigenous people of New Guinea have had this style for centuries, and dreads have also been worn across Africa, particularly by the Maasai, Ashanti, Galla, and Fulani.

But perhaps the most common example of our modern times is music legend and passionate Rastafarian Bob Marley, who probably popularized the style through his music. In the Rastafarian movement, the dreads, inspired by the Nazarites of the Bible, mark a covenant with God, because combs, razors and scissors are considered to be Babylon's inventions, which relate to western (read white) society.

Today we see a global trend of locomotives that has sparked the debate about cultural appropriation, a term that is often misused. While it would be presumptuous to say that dreadlocks belong to a particular culture, as a quick investigation shows, what is certain is that this is how cultural appropriation advocates respond, given that hairstyles typically worn by African Americans are "unprofessional" . or "dirty" on them but seen as "cool" on others, whether it is worn as a political statement, on the basis of spiritual belief, or simply as a fashion statement.

If you have dreadlocks or are considering trying this way out wearing your hair, the best way to know why you are wearing it is that the day someone asks you why you have it, you can tell what it means .

Two sadhus, or Hindu holy men, near Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. | © Luca Galuzzi / WikiCommons


Author: Tyler Beck

Tyler Beck is a 26 year old journalist. Communicator. Falling down a lot. Social media mabe. Enthusiastic internet fan. Twitter geek. Professional food junkie.