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Mexican tattoo designs are more and more popular in the United States, especially in the south of the country where more than 30 million Mexican Americans live.
If you are looking for the Mexican tattoo you have many great tattoo deigns to choose from. Therefore take your time and enjoy the process.
All Mexican tattoos can be divided into four categories: Mexican heritage tattoos, religious Mexican tattoos, Mexican pride tattoos and Mexican prison tattoos.
Mexican tattoos can be divided into two main categories: Mexican religious tattoos and non religious tattoos.
Traditional Mexican culture is very rich, diverse, and above all very interesting and exiting to explore.
The reason for this is the fact that Mexican culture is actually a huge conglomerate of many other cultures.
Some of those cultures are distinct and almost forgotten (e.g. Toltec, Mixtec, Zapotec, etc) other cultures are close to be distinct but are well remembered (Aztec and Mayan cultures), and yet there are cultures that have influenced greatly the traditional Mexican culture and are still very much "alive" and flourishing (Spanish culture).
Even though great majority of Mexicans (about 95%) speak Spanish, and are Christians, they didn't forget about their native Mesoamerican roots. In fact, Mexicans are very proud of having the great cultures such as the Aztec and Mayan cultures as part of their origin.
Since the Aztecs and Maya were very fond of the tattoos it is safe to say that tattoos have been part of the traditional Mexican culture from the very beginning.
Probably the most popular tattoos of the Mexican culture are the tattoos of the Aztec religious symbolism and achievements. For example, the Aztec Sun God or other popular Aztec gods (they had many gods) and the famous Aztec calendar.
Another very popular Mexican culture tattoo is the tattoo of the Mexican flag. Mexicans love and adore their flag; so much so, that they have the biggest monumental flags in the world. They also have a civil oath to the flag, flag songs and the national holiday dedicated to their flag (Mexican Flag Day).
Therefore, it is completely normal that Mexicans love to have the tattoo of the Mexican flag on their shoulders, arms or some other part of their bodies.
Finally, the third group of the most popular Mexican culture tattoos is called the Mexican religious tattoos. Mexican religious tattoos include the images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus Christ, Biblical Saints, Mexican cross, etc.
All Aztec tattoo designs represent Mexican heritage tattoos. Aztec empire was one of the biggest and most powerful empires in the pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (Present Mexico and neighboring countries).
Spanish arrival to the Mesoamerica meant the end for the Aztec empire. Also, 19 million of indigenous people (out of 20 million) lost their lives due to the diseases that Spanish brought with themselves and wars between Spanish conquistadors and indigenous people.
Despite all these devastating destructions, Aztecs and their culture, survived and represent an important part of Mexican heritage nowadays.
Aztecs used tattoos very frequently especially during the religious rituals which is why they had many elaborated tattoo designs. Most famous Aztec's tattoo designs nowadays are: The Aztec's Sun God, Aztec calendar tattoos, and the Aztec's god of warriors, Aztec's god of water, fertility and creativity, Aztec's eagle, the sun, the moon and so on.
Most of the Aztec tattoo designs are very brightly colored, elaborate and highly stylized.
Tattoos have been a part of traditional Mexican culture for thousands of years.
Almost all Mesoamerican pre-Columbian civilizations were familiar with tattoos and were very fond of them.
Nowadays, many Mexicans have tattoos whose themes are taken from Mayan, Inca or Aztec religious art.
The Aztec empire was the biggest, most advances and the last pre-Columbian civilization. This is why tattoos with the Aztec's themes are most frequent in present Mexico and among Mexicans living in the United States and other countries.
There are many types of the Aztec tattoos such as the "social" tattoos which are used to mark a person's social status or the "ID" tattoos which are used to differentiate between the different tribes.
Most important and most elaborated Aztec tattoos were the religious tattoos that were done during religious rituals and in honor of one of the many Aztec Gods.
Nowadays most famous Aztec religious tattoos are the tattoos of Aztec sun god, god of warriors, and of course the most powerful Aztec gods - god of water, fertility and creativity. Other popular Aztec tattoos are the eagle, sun and moon, stars, cross tattoos and Aztec's calendar.
A very frequent religious tattoo in Mexico is the regular design of the Virgin of the Guadalupe. Virgin of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico City in the 16th century and since then became one of the most important icons in Mexico. Its image was the very first flag of Mexico and it represents Mexican commitment to the religion, love and freedom.
Famous Mexican Skull tattoos are inspired by the Mexican religious holiday in which Mexicans pray and remember their family members and friends that have passed away. This day is called "the Day of the Dead" and its symbol is the human skull thus the skull tattoos.
Aztec empire was the most powerful empire in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (present Mexico) and that is why this civilization had great influence on traditional Mexican culture.
Aztec people used tattoos very frequently and for different purposes. For example, they used tattoos for identification, marking a person’s social status or during the religious rituals.
Mexican Aztec tattoos are very popular in present Mexico and among Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the United States. The most frequent Mexican Aztec tattoos are Aztec calendar tattoo, the Aztec sun god, the Aztec god of weather, fertility and creativity, the Aztec god of warriors, the Aztec Eagle and the Aztec sun and moon tattoos.
Nonreligious Mexican tattoos can be broken into few categories: Mexican Pride tattoos, Mexican prison tattoos and political tattoos.
Great example of Mexican pride tattoos are the Mexican flag tattoos. Mexicans love and adore their flag. They have a national holiday dedicated to their flag as well as the civil oath and salute to the flag.
However the most impressive and explicit example of the Mexicans devotion to their flag are the monumental Mexican Flags that are placed across the country. The biggest monumental flag has a pole of 270 feet, and measures 120 by 70 feet and weights almost 500 pounds!
Now you can better understand why Mexicans that live in the United States often get a Mexican flag tattoo. However, this is not the only Mexican pride tattoo. There are many others and they include all of the above.
Very notorious Mexican tattoos are the Mexican prison tattoos. These tattoos became very popular in the 1950 when Mexican Mafia, the first Mexican prison gang, was founded.
If you know how to read prison tattoos you can find out a lot about a person. For example there is a big difference if a person has a tattoo of the number 13 or the number 14 because number 13 stands for the Mexican Mafia and the number 14 stands for Nuestra Familia. Of course these two gangs are not just rivals but the worst enemies as well.
Other things that you can find out about a prisoner, a side from the membership to a certain prison gang, is what kind of the weapon he likes to use, how many people he have killed, in how many prisons he have been as well as his rank in the gang and name of a loved one.
In conclusion, Mexican tattoos can tell a life story, they can be expression of pride, love and hope; or sadness and loss of a loved one. They can also be political statements or represent religious beliefs.
Mexican Scull tattoos are very unique, colorful and traditional Mexican tattoos. The human skull is a symbol of (among other things) the Day of the Dead which is a Mexican celebration during which the dead relatives, family members and friends are honored, remembered and prayed for.
This Mexican celebration is not only about death but life as well. In fact this very holyday is a living proof that the dead are still alive in the hearts and minds of their loved ones.