The swallow tattoos have a rich history and symbolism around the world. Most swallow tattoos are very delicate and have many meanings.
For thousands of people over the centuries, swallow tattoos were directly linked to health, well being, loyalty, and the vigors of long distance travel.
One of meanings The best known is directly linked to sailors, who usually get this tattoo as a symbol of good luck and hope of returning home, because swallows don't fly to places too far from dry land. Seeing a swallow at sea means that land is near.
Another factor is that the swallows, when they migrate, return home every year, no matter where they are.
Another meaning for swallow tattoos is connected to love. Since swallows are birds that have only one partner for their entire life, they are usually done as a symbol for love and loyalty to family or partners.
As an alternative to tattooing names, couples who wish to tattoo together can get swallows tattooed.
Origin of Swallow Tattoos
According to sources, the origin of swallow tattoos originated on a ship called the Swallow. This ship suffered a mutiny, and the 7 crew members who organized the mutiny had a swallow tattoo on their chests.
After the event, it is said that this style of tattooing began to be performed by sailors according to their sailing experience. Every 5,000 nautical miles (approximately 9250 km) a sailor would have a swallow tattooed on his chest.
Other meanings of swallow tattoos
- In some cultures, the first swallow of spring is a sign of good fortune, and/or financial success. To ensure wealth, two coins need to be rubbed against each other while watching the bird's flight.
- A tattoo of two swallows represents freedom. It is a very popular tattoo among people who have just been released from prison.
- In the UK a swallow tattoo on the wrists can symbolize that the person is a good fighter, with great agility for a fight
- Some gangs, especially related to Skinheads and White Supremacists also use the tattooed swallows.
Celebrities with swallow tattoos
- Robbie Williams: The artist has 2 swallows tattooed on his abdomen.
- Marc Almond: lead singer of the band Softcell has a swallow tattoo on his neck.
- Mark McGrath: vocalist for the band Sugar Ray, has a red swallow on his left shoulder and a blue one on his right shoulder.
- Johnny Depp: has a swallow tattoo on his right arm.