The Jolly Roger is a skull and crossed bones that was traditionally used to signify a pirate ship at sea. Another popular skull tattoo is a more colorful rendition of the sugar skulls used during the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. Popularity has grown from the Jolly Roger, associated with pirates and sailors, to various meanings for all types of people.
It is thought that the sugar skulls replaced real human skulls used in native traditions to honor the dead after the Spanish came to present day Mexico. Some people prefer highly visible placements such as the traditional upper arm tattoo for sailors, or on the calf.

Although many people associate skull tattoos with dark, gothic thoughts many people find them to be uplifting and inspiring. These skulls are often colored with bright blues, reds, and greens, and are used to symbolize the passage between life and death. This placement allows the world to see the tattoo and draw conclusions about the symbolism.
Other common meanings behind skull tattoos include the concept of poison, signifying that the bearer is dangerous, the concept of loyalty until death, and the idea of either cheating death or being prepared for death.
However, as the celebration becomes more secular many people are adopting the symbolism to their personal beliefs and use these tattoos to honor a deceased loved-one or to remind them of the close relationship between life and death.

Skull tattoos tend to look good when they are paired with a boney part of the body, such as near the ankle bone or clavicle as an association can be drawn between the skeleton of the bearer and the tattoo.

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