Hippie (or hippy) subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word ‘hippie’ came from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The Beats adopted the term hip, and early hippies inherited the language and countercultural values of the Beat Generation; children of the road who believed they should make love, not war. Their vocal opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the increasingly rocky road to shared civil rights among all Americans led to this new, alternative form of activism. Hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as cannabis, marijuana, LSD, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness.
Donning psychedelic floral clothing and growing beards, all became part of the evolving counter-culture. With this also came a new epoch of fashion, film and literature; one which would grow out of the San Francisco valley and spill into the daily lives of the masses at home and abroad within the span of a couple of years. Hippies often chose brightly colored clothing and wore unusual styles, such as bell-bottom pants, vests, tie-dyed garments, dashikis, peasant blouses, and long, full skirts; non-Western inspired clothing were also popular.
Hippies tended to travel light, and could pick up and go wherever the action was at any time. One travel experience, undertaken by hundreds of thousands of hippies between 1969 and 1971, was the Hippie trail overland route to India. Carrying little or no luggage, and with small amounts of cash, almost all followed the same route, hitch-hiking across Europe to the Indian frontier. Once in India, hippies went to many different destinations, but gathered in large numbers on the beaches of Goa and Kovalam in Trivandrum (Kerala), or crossed the border into Nepal to spend months in Kathmandu. By the mid-1970s, the hippie movement began to slow.