When researching traditions and customs of the Hawaiian people, tattooing is mentioned frequently. It’s customary for both men and women to have tattoos even from a young age. Four popular tattoos in Hawaii include Tribal symbols (tattooed anywhere from arm or leg bands, to symbols on the fingers and face), Hawaiian flowers (generally located on flat surfaces of the body, behind the legs and on the back, etc), Water creatures such as dolphins, turtles and fish, and tattoos that are of Hawaiian women (mostly for men).
Hawaiian tattoos on the Hawaiian people, are symbols that have meanings to them. Tribal symbols could be placed on the descendant of a specific tribe that was common to the area centuries ago. Hawaiian flowers are meant to symbolize beauty, possibly both inner and outer, and are found on the majority of women in Hawaii.
Dolphins are tattooed as a symbol of freedom and care-free existence, whereas the Hawaiian woman tattooed on a man’s back or arm could be just a sex symbol. These are, however, the four most popular Hawaiian tattoos. Even tourists that get a tattoo while on vacation, are more likely to select one of these four rather than any other, to not only symbolize that they have visited the island, but because they are aware of at least some of the traditions and customs of the Hawaiian people. These four designs carry with them different symbols of different things, but are tattooed on the greater part of the Hawaiian population.
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