Swallow tattoo design belong to the most popular nautical patterns alongside with anchor and mermaid tattoos. Swallow symbolizes spring, hope, speed, youth and good luck. It is also said to bring success and strength.
According to the tradition, a sailor got this tattoo after 5000 nautical miles spent in the sea. Swallows flying in the sky were the first sign that the ship is approaching land. These birds are able to take long flights over the vast expanses of water and often choose the masts of ships as a place to rest.
In Ancient Greece and Rome swallow was associated with goddess of love Aphrodite (Venus), and could act as her envoy. In Greece it also helped mother who had lost their children and carried the souls of the dead to the Underworld, so it was very unlucky to kill the bird by accident.
Ancient Egyptian as well as Cretan and Sumerian mythology swallow personalized Ancient Mothers. In China it symbolizes daring, fidelity and changes for the better. The Japanese associate this bird with motherly love and devotion to a family hearth as the bird mates for life. The Christians view it as a symbol as resurrection and new life.
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.
Swallow Tattoo Designs and Placement:
Swallow is a very beautiful bird with great combination of colors like blue, white and red. These tattoos can be carved in various manners to form a perfect elegant tattoo design. As mentioned earlier, a swallow tattoo can be drawn in combination with a flower tattoo. A swallow holding a rose or any flower in its beak is one of the popular swallow tattoo designs.
One more famous tattoo design is, a banner tattoo below the swallow tattoo. Some people like to carve their name on this banner, while some get famous quotes. For someone who wants to symbolize his/her love for his/her partner or family, can go for a swallow tattoo combined with a heart tattoo. Diving swallow tattoo is one more popular design option. Read more on heart tattoos with names.
When it comes to placing a swallow tattoo on the body, there are number of placement options one can go for. If you want to go for a large swallow tattoo, then back makes a great place. Back is a large canvas where you can get a swallow tattoo along with heart tattoo and banner tattoo. Women usually go for swallow tattoo either on shoulder or upper arms. People who go for two swallow tattoos, usually place them around or below the collar bone. Foot, lower back, hips and thighs are some more placement options for women.