Also called dreads
, it is a style created by allowing the hair to matt into locks.
Although popular myth gives Rastafarians
credit for inventing the style, it is almost as old as humanity itself. Dreadlocks or similarly matted styles have been worn from Africa all the way to India, Australia, and even Papua New Guinea.
Indians call them "jata", and they are generally worn by adherents of Shiva.
Some Austro Aboriginies call them "goonut" or "goonat". It was a popular style around the area now known as Botany Bay in pre colonial times.
The term "dreadlocks" being used for this style, however, did originate with the Rastafarian movement. To them it symbolizes many things including the rejection of conventional western mainstream beauty standards, and the dread some may feel when confronted with the true natural self.
There is some debate as to whether matted locks that are "well manicured" should be called dreadlocks, since they are not natty
and often require consistent maintenance and a higher degree of perceived vanity.