A hippie (or hippy) is a member of a liberal counterculture, originally a youth movement that started in the United States and the United Kingdom during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world.

The beats (the hip people) started calling these students “hippies,” or younger versions of themselves. Actually, the counterculture seldom called itself hippies; it was the media and straight society who popularized the term. Most often, we called ourselves freaks or heads.

Had I come of age in the 60s, I would definitely have been a hippy, or head. Being the type of person I am, wholly against drug use, I would not have been the sort of hippy chick who smoked grass or shot up heroin or did anything else of that nature, but I would have certainly been into that free love and back to nature philosophy. I kind of had hippie leanings during my liberal college days in fact.

If you really want to trace the start of the hippie movement, you’d have to research the Bohemians of Europe, but as far as the United States is concerned, it all began with the Nature Boys of SoCal. Der Wandervogel, a back-to-nature ‘hippy’ type movement that had its roots in Germany spread to America, when German immigrants brought this philosophy to our shores, opening up some of the country’s first health food stores (even today, health foods are pretty big in Germany) and many of the followers believed that a warmer climate was essential, so they moved to California. Eden ahbez, a member of this group, wrote a hit song, “Nature Boy‘”, which was recorded in 1947 by Nat King Cole, popularizing the homegrown back-to-nature movement to mainstream America. – Wikipedia

Then there was the Beat Generation, Often known as beatniks (I could have been one of them), the most famous of this group include anti-war crusader Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and hero of the hallucinogenic humans, Timothy Leary. Ken Kesey was one as well, and in 1964 he embarked on a road trip across the US in a psychedelic school bus with his sycophants, a group known as the Merry Pranksters. This group lived communally in Kesey’s homes in Oregon and California, and during their road trip they met up with others that became infamous with the hippy movement, handed out LSD, and thumbed their noses at mainstream society, whom they dubbed The Establishment. Sounds like my kind of people!

The Merry Pranksters

Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, Yippies (a rather political offshoot of the hippies led mainly by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin), Woodstock, Charles Manson and his notorious ‘family’ – who hurt the movement with their evil crimes and visions of White supremacy – Flower Power, and music by such bands as Big Brother & The Holding Company, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, usually come to mind when one hears or reads the word ‘hippy’, ‘hippies’, and ‘psychedelic’.

Today we have the neo-hippies, the descendants of the originals, who practice the same beliefs as those that came before them: “peace, love, harmony, freedom, and community” being their motto. Some modern day hippies call themselves ‘Rainbows’ after ‘Rainbow Family of Living Light’. Hippy clothes were and still are colorful affairs – tie dye, batik, ethnic style, peasant blouses, Native American vests and such, honeycomb hats, go go boots, granny dresses, fringes, beaded necklaces, micro skirts, and old, tattered jeans. I’m loving it folks, loving it. Let’s bring back the real hippies, down with The Establishment!


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