Dreadlocks, also called "locs" or "locks" or "ras" "or "dreads", are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing sections of the hair, twisting or a process involving the weaving of the hair with a crochet hook to form knots.
Dreadlocks are associated most closely with the Rastafari movement, but people from many groups in history before them have worn dreadlocks, including the Hindu Shiva worshippers of India and the Sufis Rafaees , the Maasai of East Africa, and the Sufis malangs and fakirs of Pakistan. Dreadlocks can represent a spiritual journey that is not just related to the Rastafari movement.
The first known examples of dreadlocks date back to North Africa. In ancient dynastic Egypt examples of Egyptians wearing locked hairstyles and wigs have appeared on bas-reliefs, statuary and other artifacts. Mummified remains of ancient Egyptians with locks, as well as locked wigs, have also been recovered from archaeological sites.
The Hindu deity Shiva and his followers were described in the scriptures as wearing "jaTaa", meaning "twisted locks of hair", probably derived from the Dravidian word "caTai", which means to twist or to wrap. The Greeks, the Pacific Ocean peoples, the Naga people and several ascetic groups within various major religions have at times worn their hair in locks, including the monks of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Nazirites of Judaism, Qalandari Sufi's the Sadhus of Hinduism, and the Dervishes of Islam among others. The very earliest Christians also may have worn this hairstyle. Particularly noteworthy are descriptions of James the Just, first Bishop of Jerusalem, who wore them to his ankles.
Pre-Columbian Aztec priests were described in Aztec codices (including the Durán Codex, the Codex Tudela and the Codex Mendoza) as wearing their hair untouched, allowing it to grow long and matted.
In Senegal, the Baye Fall, followers of the Mouride movement, a sect of Islam indigenous to the country which was founded in 1887 by Shaykh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke, are famous for growing locks and wearing multi-colored gowns. Cheikh Ibra Fall, founder of the Baye Fall school of the Mouride Brotherhood, claims that he was "the first dread in West Africa".
A person with thick locks.In Jamaica the term dreadlocks was first recorded in the 1950s as a term for the "Young Black Faith", an early sect of the Rastafari which began among the marginalized poor of Jamaica in the 1930s, when they ceased to copy the particular hair style of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and began to wear dreadlocks instead. It was said that the wearer lived a "dread" life or a life in which he feared God, which gave birth to the modern name 'dreadlocks' for this ancient style.
Many Rastafari attribute their dreadlocks as a dedication to Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as well as the three Nazarite vows, in the Book of Numbers, the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch.
Dreadlocks in history has been worn by a variety of people:
(5)Priests and Priestesses
(6)Witches and Wizards
(Info from Wikipedia.com)