Indian symbolism – tattoos and rangolis

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

I recently came across Indian symbolism and meaning in traditional tattoos. It completely blew my mind since I saw these symbols around me all the time without really delving into what they mean or why they are there. These hidden meanings are getting lost over time, not to mention tattooing these traditional symbols more so. Tattooing or ‘gondavne’ was tradition and I remember my mom-in-law tell me how her grandma used to say ‘dev mhanel nandoon alis pan gondvun nai ali’ – i.e, gods will say you lead a full life on earth but you haven’t got tattooed. It was believed only tattooed souls can enter heaven, because you take the marks on your soul. Now is that intriguing or what. i have a few of my favorite ones here (in my new Moleskine book. YES! )

Marathi women always wear the half crescent bindi with a dot with traditional saree and I felt so cool learning about what it meant. The crescent moon is chandra and the dot is the star rohini and they are happy in their togetherness. The rangoli patterns from southern India were also of particular interest to me since me grandma used to draw it every day in front of the tulas -‘tulsi/basil plant’. I came across lots of articles where they mention the common origin of people from Karnataka and Maharashtra which was interesting. Might explain a lot of customs.

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