Tattoo is an art work which is engraved on the body by injecting tattoo inks or dyes into the skin. Tattoos have become a rage with people from different strata of the society – be it college going youth to those in their 30s and even celebrities from Hollywood personalities to sports icons.
The design of a tattoo could vary from a simple one to an intrinsic one to just the initials of your loved ones. Tattoos, which have been engraved by the people on their bodies since pre-historic period throughout the world, have been adorned by the peopled for different reasons like therapeutic or healing purposes, decoration and spiritual purposes, identification purposes or even cosmetic purposes.
Tattoos are considered as amulets by people in many societies which would protect them from any kind of evil.
Tattoos for protection:
The practice of having tattoos on the bodies for protection purposes is quite old. It depicts the faith that the wearer or community has in a particular belief, custom or religion. Some of the prominent examples where tattoos have been an integral part of cultures are mentioned below:
- In Hokkaido island of Japan, women in the Ainu ethnic tribe get tattoos of goddesses on their bodies as they believe that diseases would not come to them in fear of attacking God.
- To protect themselves from boomerangs, a weapon used by the natives of Australia-Aborigines which comes back after hitting the intended target, Aborigines get their arms engraved with tattoos.
- All the children in Iraq are tattooed with a dot at the end of their nose to protect them from any kind of illness.
- Soldiers in Burma believe that if they wear tattoos on their thighs, they cannot be defeated by anyone in the battlefield.
- People in Cambodia believe that nobody or nothing could harm them not even bullets or any other weapon if their whole body is tattooed.
- Hindus all over the world are of the view that tattoo depicting Lord Hanuman will safeguard them against all kinds of pains and evils.
- In Thailand, auspicious and sacred Buddhist tattoos, said to contain magical powers are engraved on the body during ‘Krob Kru’, a religious ritual. The sacred Buddhist texts are engraved on the chest, arms or back after which a spiritual leader hits the tattoo with a sword. This is said to protect the recipient from any further problems.
- In Pakokku region of Burma, people belonging to snake tribes get tattoos engraved on their bodies in order to protect themselves from cobras and vipers. Tattooing is done weekly for every member of the snake tribe community in a ritual along with chants of prayers. After the ritual, the tattoo ink along with snake venom is injected into the skin and the tattoos of Buddhist symbols are engraved on the arms, chest, face, legs, back and scalp.
- People in Hawaii get tattoos of Gods engraved on their bodies as they believe that it would protect them from all kinds of evils.
- Even today in United States, majority of the tattoos that people wear, are of holy cross, dove, angels etc.
- People even wear tattoos to wade away "mal de ojo" or the bad or negative spirits.
The usage of tattoos for protection from evils has been prevalent since ages. In the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries, Christian crusaders used to get tattoos of the holy cross on one hand so that in case they die in the battlefield, they would be given a Christian funeral.
Some people wear tattoos for not only making a style statement but also because of religious sentiments they attach to the wearing of the tattoos.