The sight of swallows meant that land was near, so swallows were a sign of hope and a safe trip home.
The 7 mutineers who started the mutiny on The Swallow had a swallow tattooed on their chest in order to recognize each other. Swallows are a sign of overall sailing experience, every 500 nautical miles (or 5750 miles), sailors tattooed a swallow on his chest, so in the early years sailors with 1 or 2 swallows were considered very experienced due to the difficulty of sailing, making them trustworthy and valuable. Swallows were also seen as a sign of carrying the soul to heaven, carrying the soul from the murky waters to heaven. Even though swallows tend to surround sailing, there are plenty of other meanings that attract people to the tattoo design. Two swallows represent freedom, and is popular among those who have been released from prison. Swallow tattoos can have a wide variety of meanings, but behind each tattoo, there may be personal symbolism.
If you are contemplating of getting a bird tattoo currently, there are a number of great choices you can consider. A good option of bird tattoo that has a positive connotation, and somewhat an old-fashioned look, is the swallow tattoo design. Similar to nautical star, the sailors are thought to be one of those early groups to relish swallow tattoo designs. While swallow keeps the same companion for its whole life, it illustrates its great loyalty that a person can have to his or her loved one, close friend, or family.  Having two birds sported on the chests will underscore the true love of a relationship, or the unity of two soul mates.
A swallow tattoo can be intertwined with other elements such as a heart, flowers, swords, and a banner with name of the loved one.

The Swallow tattoo is cool and trendy nowadays, just as other bird tattoos and old school designs such as the nautical star tattoo. The swallow, as well as bluebirds and sparrows, has always had a symbolic meaning for sailors because these birds were usually the first sign that land was near (before modern navigation technology). After that, the swallow tattoo was the tattoo design for sailors to show off their sailing experience. Traveling over sea in the early years was a dangerous and difficult undertaking, so a sailor with one or two swallow tattoos was considered very experienced and therefore trustworthy and valuable. In some cultures, the first swallow of spring is a very fortunate sight because it is an omen of financial success. A swallow tattoo on the fists does symbolize that the person who wears it is a good fighter (in the UK).
Swallow tattoos, as wells as bluebird and sparrow tattoos (jailbirds), are also a symbol of white supremacy for some people. The swallow tattoo and other old-school tattoos are trendy again, especially in some scenes, such as the rockabilly scene.
A symbol of hope for the return home, of loyalty to one's family and home, of freedom, the swallow is a beautiful choice for a tattoo, whether or not you plan on spending your days out at sea.
Mark McGrath: singer from the band Sugar Ray, has a red swallow on his right shoulder and a blue swallow on his left. Some people get them just because they can be quite attractive and there is a wide range of designs that can make them unique. Some popular picks in terms of good aesthetic beauty and meanings are the swallow, eagle, swan, sparrow, bluebird, hummingbird, and peacock.

In the past while navigating equipment was unavailable, the presence of swallow in the sky signaled the sailors that the land was near.  It was a symbol of hope for a safe return journey, and they wore the tattoo on the chests to portray their sailing experience at sea and their status in the group.
Swallow tattoos are often combined with stars, cherries, flowers, arrows or a banner with text.
They are a popular design amongst rockabilly girls and other retro chicks, just as nautical stars and cherry tattoos.
He's full of tattoos, you couldn't find a better actor for the role of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. With its wings widely spread, there is no better representation than using a swallow to signify freedom. When more experience was gained through the total distance of traveling, or after completing a successful voyage, or crossing a challenging ocean, more swallow tattoos will be added to the body. In order to recognize each other, the 7 mutineers who started the mutiny had a swallow tattooed on their chest. This is due to the fact that these old school tattoos were common during the prime time of rockabilly music. A good example of the tattoo designs typical for that time is the work of tattoo artist Sailor Jerry, who had his tattoo parlor in Honolulu's Chinatown. The design has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years for the girls and the guys as having a pairs of them are really cool and trendy.

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