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The Hippie Movement: A Journey Back in Time

CEO Tinh Phung
The hippie movement, also known as the flower people, emerged as a youth movement in the United States during the early 1960s, spreading its roots around the world. Inspired by European social movements and Eastern...

The hippie movement, also known as the flower people, emerged as a youth movement in the United States during the early 1960s, spreading its roots around the world. Inspired by European social movements and Eastern spirituality, the hippie subculture was deeply influenced by the Beat Generation and the Vietnam War. Their fundamental ethos, including harmony with nature, communal living, artistic experimentation, sexual exploration, and the use of recreational drugs, revolutionized the counterculture of the 1960s.


Classical Culture

The roots of the hippie movement can be traced back to ancient cultures and historical precedents. Some point to the Mazdakist movement in Persia, led by Persian reformer Mazdak, which advocated for communal living, vegetarianism, and free love. The ideals of the Greeks and philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics also influenced the hippies. They were also believed to be inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ, Hillel the Elder, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, and others.

19th- and early 20th-century Europe

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the German Lebensreform movement emphasized the goodness of nature and the harms of industrialization. The Wandervogel movement grew out of Lebensreform, attracting young Germans who rejected urbanization and longed for a back-to-nature spiritual life. These early movements paved the way for the hippie ideals of living in harmony with nature and questioning societal norms.

Nature Boys of Southern California

In the early 20th century, Germans settled in Southern California, where they practiced alternative lifestyles in line with the hippie values. The Nature Boys, a group that included members like Gypsy Boots, embraced organic farming and a back-to-nature lifestyle . Their influence extended to Northern California in 1967, coinciding with the famous Summer of Love in San Francisco.

Beat Generation

The Beat Generation, particularly those associated with the San Francisco Renaissance, played a crucial role in the transition from the Beatnik movement to the hippie counterculture. Influential figures like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac became key players in the anti-war movement and popularized psychedelic substances like LSD to the hippie movement. Their works and ideas shaped the cultural landscape of the era.

1960 to 1966

During this period, significant events and individuals shaped the hippie movement.

Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters

Ken Kesey, an American novelist and prominent figure in the psychedelic movement, formed a group called the Merry Pranksters. They embarked on a road trip in a psychedelically painted school bus called "Further" and organized Acid Tests, musical and multi-media events where participants were given LSD. The Merry Pranksters believed that psychedelics could lead to social and political change.

Red Dog Experience

The Red Dog Saloon in Nevada became a gathering place for the emerging counterculture, where music and psychedelic experimentation flourished. The Red Dog Experience showcased traditional folk music and the burgeoning psychedelic rock scene. It attracted renowned bands like Big Brother and The Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead. This fusion of music, psychedelic experiences, and communal living formed the basis of the hippie movement.

Anti-war protests

As the Vietnam War escalated, many young Americans embraced the anti-war movement. Civil rights activists, who had previously fought against segregation in the South, joined forces with the new wave of peace activists. Draft card burnings and protests marked the opposition to the war, and the hippie movement became associated with these anti-establishment sentiments.


As the hippie movement gained momentum, it was reflected in various forms of popular culture. Plays like "Generation" by US playwright William Goodhart explored the clash between the establishment and the hippie counterculture. Books, such as "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me" by Richard Fariña, portrayed life in the counterculture.

1967: The Summer of Love

The year 1967 marked a turning point for the hippie movement, with major events and cultural shifts.

Human Be-In

The Human Be-In, held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, popularized hippie culture across the United States. Thousands of hippies gathered to listen to influential speakers and musicians, promoting peace, love, and unity. The event became synonymous with the philosophy and spirit of the movement.


In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Festival became a symbol of the hippie counterculture. Over 500,000 people gathered in Bethel, New York, to listen to iconic musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead. The festival embraced the ideals of peace, love, and music, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.


Later in 1969, the Altamont Free Concert in California, headlined by The Rolling Stones, turned into a tragic event. Amidst violence and chaos, a concertgoer was killed, bringing an end to the utopian dreams of the hippie movement. The incident marked the decline of the movement and the beginning of a more disillusioned era.

1970 to Present

Despite changes in society and the mainstream perception of the hippie movement, its legacy continues to resonate.

Mainstream Influence

Many aspects of the hippie counterculture have been assimilated into mainstream society. Religious and cultural diversity is now widely accepted, and natural foods, herbal remedies, and alternative lifestyles have gained popularity. The values of peace, love, and community continue to inspire individuals and communities around the world.


Today, neo-hippies, some of whom are descendants of the original hippies, continue to advocate for similar beliefs. While drug use remains prevalent, alternative methods of achieving higher consciousness, such as meditation, yoga, and dance, have gained prominence. Festivals like Bonnaroo, Burning Man, and Glastonbury attract thousands of like-minded individuals who celebrate the hippie lifestyle and values.


The hippie movement has left its mark on various cultural aspects, from fashion and music to literature and art. Their influence can be seen in the ongoing celebration of music festivals, the revival of tie-dye and boho-chic fashion, and the continued pursuit of alternative lifestyles. While the movement has its critics, the ideals of peace, love, and freedom continue to inspire those seeking a more harmonious and compassionate world.