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The Symbolism and Meaning Of Swallow Tattoos

Swallow tattoos may not seem like a popular tattoo or a tattoo that has been available for decades. The tattoos are available in a myriad of designs which can be customized by each person wanting the tattoo to represent different aspects of the meaning. Through the tattoos that are available, you can easily find one whether you are seeking a tattoo with color, or without to suit the design that you had in mind.

Using the internet to find various pictures, positions and placements on the body for the swallow tattoo is one of the most effective ways as well as one of the most popular to find inspiration. Through the internet, multiple pictures can easily be found which can make it simple to make the decision about which tattoo is going to be chosen for the work of art.

What is the original meaning of the swallow tattoos? The original meaning of the swallow tattoo lies in the trust between sailors in the Navy. Through the tattoos, which represent the trust between sailors that have been in the Navy in the past to ensure loyalty and the fact that the sailor will always return home after being away at sea? Through this loyalty, to those at home, to one another, the swallow has been a popular design for those seeking something to represent the loyalty within one another, as well as those wanting to represent the loyalty to coming home while working at a job at the sea.

Having a swallow tattoo is a creative way of expressing yourself. If you are going to get one, you may want to understand what it means first. The symbolism of the swallow tattoo is cause for controversy and confusion.

Possessing a swallow tattoo symbol used to be a sign of status among sailors. The meaning behind it was that swallows, supposedly, protected the sailors from harm on their journeys. However, a similar version of the story is that, if the sailors did die at sea, the swallow would protect their soul and carry them to heaven. Either way, the meaning is similar. It was a great comfort, as well as a status symbol, to sailors out at sea.

According to legend, after sailing for at least five thousand miles, a sailor could get a swallow tattoo symbol put on his chest, to mark the occasion. This gave him a great sense of honor and achievement. A longer version of the legend is that, when he had traveled over ten thousand miles, he was entitled to get a second swallow tattoo on the other side of his chest.

Getting a second tattoo gave sailors an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment. It also served as a sort of pictorial resume. Since traveling by ship was very dangerous during that time. Thus, it was a sign of an experienced sailor who could be counted on in a crisis. Sailors with two swallow tattoo symbols on their chests, instead of one, were especially sought after. It meant that they had weathered many storms and gotten through many challenges. Therefore, any captain looking for new crew members was always happy to see a sailor with two swallow tattoos on his chest.

Swallow Tattoo Meaning:

Swallows tattoos are known for their rich history and great meanings. They are mostly associated with the sailor group, because of their significance in navigation. Appearance of any bird while navigating in the sea is a sign of presence of land nearby. Thus a swallow tattoo symbolizes safe trip home of a sailor. Swallow tattoos were more like a status symbol for sailors in olden days.

One more story that dictates the history of swallow tattoos, goes like this. There was a ship called The Swallow and the sailors on this ship had a swallow tattoo on them for identifying each other. The traditional meaning of a swallow tattoo is, if a sailors drowns, then the swallow from the tattoo lifts the sailor’s soul to heaven. Some more meanings of swallow tattoo are given below:
  • According to some cultures, seeing a swallow in the beginning of new year is an omen of financial success.
  • Swallow tattoo on a sailor symbolizes that the sailor has good experience in sailing and hence he/she is trustworthy and valuable.
  • Previously sailors used to get swallow tattoos on sailing every 5000 nautical miles.
  • Two swallow tattoos symbolize freedom.
  • Sailors used to get swallow tattoos on sailing all the seven seas.
  • Since a swallow bird chooses a mate for whole life, these tattoos are used as symbols for love and loyalty.


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