Hey, loc fam!
There are many misconceptions about dreadlocks, which are also commonly referred to as locs in many circles. Some people believe they're a recent addition to the fashion world, while others think they have spiritual significance. Although both of these things can be true, neither of them captures the full story.
Dreadlocks have been around for thousands of years and have been worn by people from cultures across the world throughout history. In this article, we'll learn about the history of dreadlocks, discuss how dreadlocks or locs are worn today, and talk about what you can do to embark on your very own journey into the loc or dreadlock community!
The Spiritual Significance of Dreadlocks in Ancient World History
The spiritual significance of dreadlocks can be dated back to Ancient Egypt where it was believed that locs were formed when a lock of hair, from the head of the god Osiris, fell into the Nile and was washed upon a papyrus tree. The papyri grew around the strand, forming a new life form.
Another early reference to locs is found in the Vedic scriptures from India. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is often portrayed with matted locs. He is even referred to as “jatta,” a Sanskrit word meaning “twisted locks of hair.”
Buddha, who sat under a Bodhi tree for seven days without moving or eating until achieving enlightenment, is said to have had long black locs that are now a symbol of purity and wisdom.
Aztec priests in Mexico were also recorded to have untouched, long, matted locs. Dreadlocks even make an appearance in the Bible when Samson loses his strength after Delilah cuts off his locs.
This hairstyle also appears in other cultures, including many Native American, West African, Scandinavian, Norse, and Middle Eastern cultures. Clearly, dreadlocks have held spiritual significance across cultures for centuries.
Rastafarianism and Reggae Music
Though dreadlocks have existed for centuries, they were popularized and brought into mainstream culture through the rise of reggae music and Rastafarianism, a spiritual and political movement that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s.
Rastafarians believe that the last king of Ethiopia, Haile Sellassie Ⅰ, also called Tafari Mokonnen, was an incarnation of God. Dreadlocks were worn by Jamaicans as a spiritual symbol of their connection to their African roots and respect for their ancestors. This movement was a reaction to the centuries of European colonialism, eurocentrism, and slavery in the Caribbean Islands.
During this time, reggae music became a medium of hope and strength, connecting people in the fight for their rights. The Rasta message and music gained popularity in the 70s, owing to musicians like Bob Marley, who was a Rastafarian boasting shoulder-length locs and singing inspirational songs about peace and unity for all people.
This paved the way for the entry of dreadlocks into popular culture and has been adopted by people across races and ethnicities.
Dreadlocks in Modern Popular Culture
Over the years, dreadlocks have evolved from being simply a spiritual symbol (though they still are for many) and have been embraced as a staple of modern popular culture in many circles. This can be attributed to several Hollywood celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Zendaya who never shy away from showcasing their gorgeous locs.
Dreadlocks have come a long way from being a spiritual statement to becoming a new modern aesthetic. They can now be worn in whatever way suits your style—whether it’s crinkly, short, long, or braided.
If you’re thinking of getting locs, you’ll definitely want to consider their upkeep. Fortunately, Locsanity has a wide range of Loc Care products you can rely on to keep your hair and scalp healthy!