Tattoos have prevailed in the society since ancient times. Similarly, swallow tattoo designs have also been present since the very beginning. The swallow tattoos are loaded with meaning and messages. It makes these tattoos, the most popular tattoo design not only in the present but in the past as well. Predictably, a swallow tattoo stands for good things. There is no negativity or aggression surrounding the tattoo.
Swallow Tattoo Meaning in Sea Life
Swallow tattoos have been more significant for people who spend their lives largely at sea. Sailors, Sea merchants, pirates and navy officers used to be the most avid wearers of swallow tattoos. Sailors used swallow tattoos to denote their experience and distance of voyages covered. For example, a single swallow indicated 5000 nautical miles, two swallows meant 10,000 and so on.
Swallow tattoos indicated the talent and skill of the sailor who used to wear them. Therefore, swallow tattoos were a matter of great importance to sailors. Some seamen even believed that a swallow tattoo would see them home safely. A swallow returns to its original location every once a year, so it was believed that a swallow tattoo guaranteed the sailor’s return home.
Men setting out on a voyage would get a swallow tattoo before the journey was undertaken. Another swallow would be added after the voyage was concluded successfully. The number of pairs of swallow tattoos denoted the number of successful voyages. A set of seven swallow on the wrist indicated that the seaman had journeyed all the seven seas.
The British royal navy tattoos the retiring soldiers with swallow tattoos to signify that successful missions have been undertaken by the soldier.
More Unique Swallow Tattoo Meaning
Apart from the obvious and well known swallow tattoo meaning mentioned above, there are a few lesser known and interesting meaning as well. They are as follows:
- Street fighters: Street fighters, especially in the UK, have a swallow tattoo etched on the back of their fighting hand. This symbol translates into the quote “This fist lies”
- White collar criminals: In the white collar underworld, ex-con artists and henchmen who have been released from prison get a swallow tattoo on the inside of their arms. It stands for the phrase “done your bird, done your time”.
- Criminals in reform: Criminals who want to reform back into peace loving and gentle citizens, often get a swallow tattoo signify that they are no longer violent or dangerous. They want to convey the message that they are not dangerous any more, and would like to mingle with normal people.
Swallow Tattoo Meaning in Personal Life
The swallow is known as a symbol of peace and tranquility. It stands for all the lovely things and aspects of human nature in life. People get swallow tattoos to symbolize peace, love, harmony, friendships, romantic involvement, loyalty as well as confidence and freedom. Many freedom fighters use swallow tattoos to symbolize their cause, their free thinking and their love for freedom.