One of the scariest and most popular forms of contemporary tattoo art is the Day of the dead tattoos. To understand more about these unique tattoo designs, one needs to learn about this unusual festival called the day of the dead. The Day of the Dead is a unique Mexican custom, which is used to honor the dead and the departed loved ones. The festival falls between October 31 and November 2 every year and can be termed as the Mexican version of the Halloween. In fact, this festival coincides with the holidays of the Halloween and All Saint Days, which are important festivals in some other countries. The history of this day goes back to 3000 years ago, far before the colonization of the Central American region. It was the era when skulls were preserved by people as symbolic of death and rebirth and the festival of the Day of the dead was started to be celebrated in memory of the loved ones who had died. The families got together on this occasion and did a special kind of makeup caked Calaveras which resembled a skeleton, while sugar skulls also formed a vital part of the celebration of the festival. Another significant element of the festival of the Day of the Dead is the goddess called the Lady of the Dead, whose image is the key element in the Day of the Dead Tattoos.
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Symbolic Significance of the Day of the Dead Tattoos
Symbolically speaking, the basic purpose of the Day of the Dead Tattoos is to commemorate the loved ones of the bearer, who are no longer in this world, but have reached their heavenly abodes. Many a times, it has been seen that a person gets the name of his dead parents, spouse or children tattooed as a toke of remembrance to them. Similarly, the Day of the Dead Tattoos represent these deceased loved ones in the skeletal form rather than their names or portraits, as it reinforces the fact that these people no longer exist in their earthly forms, rather they are present around as spirits. These tattoos portray the skeletons in brightly colored dresses and carrying objects like musical instruments such as guitars.
Popular Day of the Dead Tattoo Designs
Creative tattoo artists have showcased a large number of designs in these tattoos, which look visually appealing and at the same time, reflect a special symbolic meaning. Here are some popular designs in Day of the Dead Tattoos:
- Day of the Dead Mariachi Tattoo – Mariachi bands make a significant part of the Mexican culture and the festival of the Day of the Dead. This tattoo design which features the skeleton of a dead mariachi playing his guitar, symbolized the celebration of the festive occasion of the Day of the dead and remembering the deceased loved ones with joy. Another Mariachi tattoo can picture the mariachi playing the guitar and singing alongside, making a happy and playful illustration of this otherwise somber occasion.
- Lady of the dead with a Skull Tattoo – Another popular design among the Day of the Dead tattoos is the one featuring the Goddess, Lady of the Dead holding an skull. The scary looking tattoo shows her with fixed looks and is done in black and white to give it an amazing visual effect.
- The lady and the Sombrero Tattoo – The Lady and the Sombrero tattoo pictures the Lady of the Dead in a playful mood, wearing the traditional Mexican Sombrero hat and having a fun time.
- In the Presence of the Goddess Tattoo – This tattoo design depicts the true spirit of the festival of the day of the Dead, which treats death as a positive thing as it leads to rebirth. This particular design features the goddess with her gazing eyes and mouth sewn shut, looking in a distance with her face held in her palms.
- Day of the Dead Lovers Tattoo – One of the best choices for couples tattoo is the Day of the Dead Lovers tattoo, which can be done on both the partners to show their love for each other as well as their commitment towards their mutual relationship. Both the partners have a skeleton featured on their forearms, which would seem to get into an embrace when the couple stands close together, standing witness to their everlasting love and faith towards each other.
- The Autumn Queen Tattoo – This particular Day of the Dead tattoo designs shows the Lady of the dead in the form of the Autumn Queen. She is shown to have red leaves on her head, which stand as a symbol of death and decay, with a warm welcome to rebirth and a new life. Another Lady of the dead Tattoo shows a real life girl’s portrait in the form of the Goddess and pays homage to this tradition of death and rebirth in this unusual form.
- Painted Skull of the dead – A fun loving and happy picture of the festival of the Day of the Dead is the tattoo called the Painted Skull of the Dead. This tattoo design uses a wide array of vibrant colors and is ideally placed on the chest of the bearer as it looks prominent at this location. It can also be inked on the arm or the shoulder.
- Day of the Dead Mariachi Cowboy Tattoo – The mariachi is a popular depiction among the Day of the Dead tattoos and this particular tattoo design pictures him as a cowboy, with a playful and happy smile on his face. The design talks of a serious issue like death in a humorous manner.
Depending upon the preference of the tattoo bearer, the Day of the Dead tattoos can be done in the customary black and grey color or in a multi colored pattern, with the aim to depict the nature of the design, whether it needs to be somber or happy. The designer can also mould the expression of the skeleton to suit the requirement of the client.