Hawaiian tattoos are an old custom that has existed for centuries among those native to Hawaii. They often covered the entire body of the native islander, and even to this day many natives practice the old tradition of praying to the tattoo god each time a member of the village receives a tattoo design.
Hawaiian tattoos have a meaning; they are not just gotten for the sake of getting one. They are usually in memory of a family member who has passed, for distinguishing a particular group, or for keeping evil spirits at bay.
Hawaiian Tattoos - More Than Just A Fad
This is a time-honored tradition in Hawaii and the subject of the tattoos plays an important role as well. They range from an ordinary stick figure to extensive scenes of beaches. Hawaiian flowers, ocean life or full body tattoos that take a great amount of time to complete. The meaning of the tattoos vary greatly and in the past was different even among the other various islands.
Hawaiian tattoo designs are normally larger and more colorful than others. When Hawaii was home to tribes, tattoos were used to show the different statuses as well as to commemorate important stages of life.
Painful Traditional Tattoo Method
The way of getting tattoos using the traditional Hawaiian method is not a pleasant experience. The use of a bone chisel that has been sharpened is required. It is used to tap a sharp stick into the skin until it begins to bleed. Then the ink is rubbed into the affected area. Often the design of the tattoo that was tapped into the skin was a voyage which was considered courageous.
Members of Hawaiian royalty in days gone by showed their importance by the number of tattoos they had. The higher you were ranked in the village, the greater the number of tattoos. Today Hawaiian body artwork still has great meaning. They are based on the tribe from which the Hawaiian descended and they often use aspects of the islands to add beauty.
Popular Hawaiian Tattoo Design Ideas For Women And Men
Hawaiian flowers are popular with women and men. A wave, a waterfall or anything that relates to the beauty of the tropical surroundings can be used. The tattoos are usually seen around the ankle on women or perhaps on the hip or wrist area. They may start on the back and circle around to the stomach or down the leg.
Men often have the tattoos on their chest, and birds are a popular design choice. Lizards are another as Hawaiians respect these creatures. Dolphins, sea turtles and other water related tattoos are often chosen. Hawaiians would also have tattoos on their face, typically on the cheekbones or the forehead. The meanings of these tattoos are typically more personal.
When flowers are chosen for a Hawaiian design, they have a unique meaning for each one. Since native Hawaiian orchids are becoming extinct and are on the endangered list, choosing this flower is often associated with love that is at risk or a beauty that is not often seen. Hawaiian tattoos can be based on a number of beautiful features, but the ones most often chosen are usually flowers or a combination of flowers and other aspects of the island habitat.