Dreadlocks are believed by most to have originated in ancient Egypt. Some Egyptian mummies have been discovered with intact dreadlocks, and some ancient Egyptian carvings depict individuals with dreadlocks. Some believe dreadlocks may have originated in India, citing pictures of the Indian god Shiva, who wears dreadlocks.
The term "dreadlocks" first appeared when Rastafarians in Jamaica began wearing their hair in this matted style. The Rastafarians wanted to live like Hindu holy men who neglected more material things like physical appearance, and instead wanted to focus on developing their spirituality. Before being called Rastafarians, these individuals were called 'dreads,' because of their 'dread' and respect for God. Thus, the term "dreadlocks" came along.