In Jamaica, dreadlocks began to appear after emancipation. They were a way for former slaves to rebel against the European culture that was dominant at the time. Colonists living in Jamaica referred to the former slaves' dreadful hairstyles, which gradually changed into the term dreadlocks. Some Jamaican people refer to their hair has "natty dreadlock."
Dreadlocks are often associated with the Rastafari movement. Some people choose to wear them as a symbol of their rejection of vanity, or their desire to return to a more natural state. In the Bible, Numbers 6:5 states that men should let their hair grow long until they are consecrated; some Rastas take this verse to mean that they should wear dreadlocks.
Dreadlocks are also associated to a certain extent with Indian yogis, but their main surge in international popularity came during the 1970s alongside the rise of reggae music. The style was incorporated into Rastafari-inspired Christian Dior collections.
Members of various countercultures may choose to wear dreadlocks. New Age travelers, modern hippies and even goths may use dreadlocks as a way of marking themselves as different.
Some salons offer various methods of making dreadlocks, but simply leaving hair to mat by itself can also result in the style. African hair forms into dreadlocks after it is coiled and twisted, but other hair types may require backcombing or other techniques to force the hair to mat together.