Hippies were people who rejected the mainstream politics of the 1960s and 1970s. The term was derived from "hip" or "hipster," adjectives applied to the beatniks of the 1950s.
Hippies were members of the counterculture movement who fought against the Vietnam War and rejected the materialism of middle-class America. They were proponents of "free love," grew their hair long and wore psychedelic, loose clothing, sandals, beads and bell-bottoms. Some hippies opted for cooperative living in communes and followed vegetarian diets. They preferred holistic medicine and healing processes to traditional medicine, living all-natural lifestyles.
Hippies promoted nonviolence and often handed out flowers at peace rallies, earning them the nickname "flower children." They believed in tolerance of various races and faiths, but many preferred Buddhism and Eastern religions to traditional Christian faiths.
Hippies played a part in the popularity of rock and folk music of the 1960s, supporting musicians such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez and Jefferson Airplane. One of the largest gatherings of hippies was at Woodstock in 1969, a three-day music festival featuring folk and rock groups and promoting peace and love. Once the United States was out of Vietnam in the mid-1970s, the hippie movement began to decrease in popularity.