Do you ever question decisions made by your government leaders? Or wish the world could be more peaceful and loving? These are a few of the hopes of those who joined the “hippie” movement in the 1960s.

The hippies took a stand against conformity. Conformity means going along with or following decisions that are generally accepted by others.

Hippies got their name because they were “hip” or aware of what was going on in the world around them. The hippie movement grew out of the earlier beatnik movement, which was a group of nonconformists living in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

One way hippies showed their dissatisfaction with society was by their appearance. This was a visible way to represent their beliefs.

Many went barefoot, wore bell-bottomed blue jeans and sported tie-dyed t-shirts. Both men and women had long hair.

However, the hippie movement was about far more than looking and acting different from the general public.

Hippies protested against the Vietnam War, which they felt was unjust. And they supported a return to a more peaceful and natural lifestyle.

They displayed the peace symbol on many things to show they opposed the war and supported world peace. And hippies began giving the peace sign, one way still used today to indicate a desire for peace.

Some of the concerns we have today about taking care of our environment began with the hippies. Many hippies wore flowers in their hair to emphasize their love of nature, described in a popular song of the time. This led to the popular phrase “flower power.”

The hippies also expressed themselves through new kinds of music. They listened to psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll and folk music that protested the war and encouraged freedom from conformity. They held music festivals and large gatherings where they protested the war.

At the time, these protests were often called “sit-ins.” People sat down and refused to leave public places as a way to draw attention to their cause and for their beliefs to be heard.

Other practices attached to hippies, however, were far more extreme. Some hippies “dropped out” or abandoned an accepted lifestyle as a way to reject mainstream society.

The hippie movement was not just limited to the United States. It occurred in many other countries, including Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

In addition to the influence the hippie movement had on fashion, popular music, television, film, literature and the arts, we can trace some of our currently accepted practices back to hippies.

These include a growing interest in health foods and saving the planet. The hippie movement also impacted our broader acceptance of other people — an important factor in today’s more global society.


75 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (29 votes, avg. 3.66 out of 5)
  1. Wow, Wonderopolis! This is awesome! I thought it was really neat to learn all about the hippie movement! I have always wondered how the hippie movement started, and this wonder made me laugh and answered all my questions! Last year for Halloween, I dressed up as a hippie. I also enjoyed your selection of music in the video! The Beatles were a huge part of the hippie movement, and I enjoyed watching the video! Good job on this one, Wonderopolis!

    • Thank you so much for your super nice comment today, Nick! It really means a lot to us to hear that you enjoyed this Wonder of the Day® so much and that you learned a few new things, too! You are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi, soccer101! We’re sure there are lots of people today who hold the same beliefs as the original hippies did back in the 1960s and 1970s. Thank you SO MUCH for visiting Wonderopolis today and for leaving us this comment! :-)

  2. Hi, Wonderopolis! I don’t like hippies, they live in vans and they’re so peaceful. I don’t get them! But, I’m not trying to be mean.

    • Hi, Ruthie! Everyone has their own opinions…that just helps make our world so awesome! We appreciate your opinion on hippies. We know you are not trying to be mean, but sometimes, if we think we don’t like something, we can try to learn a little more about it and see if our opinion changes or not! Thanks so much for leaving us this comment today! :-)

  3. I use to think a hippie was someone with long hair, because my Dad would always say, “Get a haircut, you hippie.” Now, I see it in a whole new perspective. Sometimes I agree with the hippie movement. I think it is important to believe in what you want to believe in, and not get left out for your beliefs. My generation is very accepting of others. We are bold, strong, and not afraid to hold on to what we believe in.

    • This is a really AMAZING comment, Tate! We appreciate very much you letting us know how you feel about your generation! We think you are right! Thanks so much for exploring this Wonder and for doing some more WONDERing about hippies and beliefs when you were through! :-)

  4. I learned a lot from this wonder today! I never knew that hippies get their names because they are “hip”. One year for Halloween, I was a hippie. I wore a tie-dye shirt, blue jeans, and a peace necklace and earrings. I think the wonder today was VERY cool!

    • Well, we think YOU are very COOL for leaving us a comment today, Emmalee! Thank you for letting us know about your hippie Halloween costume, too…it sounds like it was GROOVY! :-)

  5. WOW. I was not ready for that to hit me. I do not like the Beatles. My dad loves the Beatles. He just told me that hippies love to listen to the Beatles. I am not a big fan of hippies, they’re just not my style. I had my dad watch and listen to the video. He loved it very much. I am off to listen to my music now.

    • Every generation is different and we ALL like different kinds of music, Sam (no matter what our age)! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing Wonderopolis with your dad…it makes us really happy to hear about families learning together! Have an AWESOME week! :-)

  6. Wonderopolis, this is great wonder of the day. I did not know that hippies were trying to show how they liked the society. I always wondered why hippies always wore such strange clothing and glasses, but now I know. Thanks, Wonderopolis. :-)

    • We bet your friend’s shirts are bright, colorful and AWESOME, Kelsey! Learning a new language, like Spanish, takes lots of time and practice! Thanks so much for leaving us a comment today! :-)

  7. “All you need is love” is a great song that talks about why many hippies wanted peace and did not want war. I like doing the peace sign. I never realized that the hippie movement was in other countries, too. I like learning about cool things like this on Wonderopolis. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Reilly! We’d like to thank YOU for visiting Wonderopolis and for letting us know all the GROOVY things you learned from today’s Wonder about hippies! :-)

  8. Wow! I loved this wonder of the day! It is so cool how hippies got their name. I had no idea that they were hip, so they were named hippies. What an awesome fact! I also learned that hippies show the peace symbol to show that they opposed the war and supported world peace! I think that hippies are really cool and I am happy that Wonderopolis made this wonder of the day, so that I could learn more about hippies and their generation! Hippies are known for being outspoken, or saying what they want. I can connect to that because there have been many times that I have wanted to say something or do something, but I did not do it. I do wish that I could be more like hippies, and say what I really felt. Also, hippies are known for their free spirit. My friends and family say that I have a free spirit, so I just might be a hippie! ;)

    • We think you are a GREAT Wonder Friend for leaving us such a WONDERful comment, Libby! We like how you connected things you learned from today’s Wonder with your own life and personality! You rock! :-)

  9. Cool. My sister has always LOVED hippies. I think I want to be a hippie for Halloween, now. I will tell you if I am! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I love HIPPIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If I lived in the 70s, I would definitely be a hippie. Thanks for the info! And remember…

    :-)PEACE FOREVER!!!!!!!! :-)

    • Hi, Origami Yoda! Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for today’s Wonder of the Day® about hippies! We really enjoyed your comment! :-)

  11. Nice job, Wonderopolis! When I looked at this title, it made me think of a Scooby Doo movie. One of the parts is when Shaggy and Scooby are in a hippie van. I think that it is really cool how the hippies made a stand. If you think about it, hippies were not that different than regular people. Hippies needed money, shelter, food and water just like us. I think that this was a very interesting wonder of the day.

    • Your comment is a GREAT one, Ethan! Thank you for taking the time to think more about hippies after you finished exploring this Wonder! We appreciate your point of view! :-)

  12. I thought that the peace symbol van was AWESOME because… it looks soooo cool! I would love one of those when I get older. When ever I hear the word hippie, I think about my uncle because he has long hair, but no one else in my family has long hair, only the girls in my family! Ha, we have really long hair these days! Well, my dad once had long hair but he was 16 when that happened!

    Bye, I LOVE reading your stories!

    • Thanks so much for sharing about your family, Leilani! It’s always fun to learn new things about our Wonder Friends! We appreciate you leaving us this comment today! :-)

    • We see how you could think that, Tyler! Thank you for leaving us another GREAT comment today and for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  13. Awesome wonder today! I loved learning about the hippie movement! Very interesting! Keep going and stay alive, Wonderopolis!!!!!

    • Hello, Nick! Thanks for telling us how much you liked this Wonder about hippies! We hope you’ll keep visiting Wonderopolis!

    • Hi, J.F.K.! Thank you for sharing your views on hippies. We hope you learned some new things from exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  14. I love this wonder. Me and my friends LOVE to dress up like hippies (tie-dye and peace signs are my TOTAL style, jk)! I love this wonder. Where do you come up with them all???

    • We’re so glad you asked, Elizabeth! There are LOTS of Wonder Friends (just like YOU) who WONDER about many different things all the time! Whenever they WONDER, they click on the “nominate” link at the top of each page in Wonderopolis and tell us what they’re WONDERing about! You can let us know what you’re WONDERing, too! That’s just one of the ways we come up with future Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • We’re so happy you let us know that you learned something new from exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Carli! Thank you for leaving us a comment! :-)

  15. Hey, do you guys think that hippies are always colorful, or could they be just one color? Oh, and maybe your next wonder should be were do puppies come from.

    • We think it would be up to the individual hippie to decide if they wanted to be very colorful or only dress in one specific color, Kate! We think it is a personal preference! We also think a Wonder about puppies would be a GREAT idea! If you like puppies, you should check out the video for past Wonder #339 – Where Do Wrinkles Come From? Here’s a link that will take you straight to it: :-)

  16. I really like this! i learned a lot about hippies in this article! And also, I have a suggestion, or you could call it a question, I guess. How do dancers balance on point? Maybe that could be the next wonder! Please reply!
    emma grace

    • We’re so glad to hear that you learned some new things about the history of hippies by visiting this Wonder of the Day®, Emma! We think your idea for a Wonder about dancers balancing on point is a GREAT one! Thank you for suggesting it for a future Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  17. I think hippies are people who like the 70’s and like tie-dye and peace signs and things. But they are not weird, don’t make fun.

    • Hi, Madison! Thanks for sharing those smiley faces with us! You taught us a new one…the sunglasses smiley! We’ll have to use that one sometime soon. Thank you! :-)

    • It’s a GREAT, classic song that many Wonder Friends and their families have heard and enjoy singing along to, Vicki! Thank you for visiting this Wonder today and for leaving us a comment! :-)

  18. Hey,

    I love fashion! So I go through different phases like Scene, Girly, A Tomboy, and one day I decided hey! Lets be a hippie, so I grabbed out my headband, put it on my forehead, and found a vest and some bell bottoms in my mom’s old chest. I wore some peace signs. Pretty funny stuff!

    • We bet you looked like a very fashionable hippie, Simone! We appreciate how you shared that you go through different fashion phases! There are many Wonder Friends who can relate to that! :-)

  19. Hello Wonderopolis! It’s nice to see you again! Two new words I learned from this selection were folk and psychedelic. Hippies wanted a change. They liked to listen to folk music and psychedelic music. I also have a question. Why did Hippies where bell-bottoms and tie-dyed shirts? Well thank you Wonderopolis for making me wonder!!!!

    • Hello, Team Unger 9! We really liked your comment today! Thanks for sharing the two new words you learned…they’re GREAT! We think the clothes hippies wore were just another way for them to show that they were nonconformists. At a time when most people didn’t wear that type of clothing, wearing bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts allowed the hippies to stand out from the crowd and make a fashion statement all their own! :-)

  20. Do you think if I try hard enough, I could be a hippie? He, he. I love saying that word! :) hippie hippie hippie!!!!

    • It is a SUPER fun word to say, Liam! Hippie! Hippie! Hippie! Thanks for making us smile extra big smiles today…we’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis! :-)

  21. Hey wonderopolis, first thanks for the iPads for our school and second, here’s some cool smileys that I found out on my iPod touch so lets see if they work………

    • We’re glad teachers at your school received one of our mini-grants so that you guys could use iPads to explore Wonderopolis, Soccer101! That’s really cool! We really like all the AWESOME smiley faces you shared with us…THANK YOU! :-)

    • Hey there Cody, we’re really glad you stopped by to Wonder today! Thanks for sharing your comment about your love for music– we like your style! Have a GREAT day! :)

  22. Hey wonderopolis, why do some people not like hippies? They are humans, like us. (I am mot going to say normal because that is what they don’t want to be.)

    • Great question, Wonder Friend ZZ! Some people enjoy the hippie lifestyle, while others believe in a very open and liberal views. It’s not fair to group all hippies into one type of personality, just like it wouldn’t be right to assume that all basketball players are alike just because they play basketball. However, you have a great question that may have many responses. It all depends on perspective and opinion! We’re glad you’re WONDERing with us today! :)

    • We think that would be a great WONDER for you to explore, Wonder Friend Mikie! How could you find out the answer to your question? Happy WONDERing!

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a hippie?
  • Why did the hippie movement get started?
  • How will your generation be defined?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Are you a hippie? Probably not! The hippie movement was a long time ago. However, some people still try to live by the ideals of that time.

If you’re not a hippie, then what are you? Fifty years from now, what will historians say about you and your generation when they look back in time? What beliefs, music, fashion and events will define your generation?

Take time today to think about yourself, your friends and your life. Talk with older adults or people who have a different perspective.

How do they view your generation? How are things different today from when they were your age? What words would they use to describe your generation?

Even if you’re not a hippie, you can still dress like one! Tie-dyed T-shirts are still fashionable today. Learn how to make your own tie-dyed T-shirts!


Still Wondering

Head on over to EDSITEment to explore the 1968 Exhibit, which the Minnesota Historical Society put together to document this pivotal year.


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