Alternative Valentine’s Day Tattoos

Still thinking about a present for your significant other/best friend/child’s favourite adopted aunt/mad crush whom you social media stalk (but holding back on the likes not to seem too keen) for Valentine’s Day? Sure, cards are lovely, and flowers are pretty, but a gift certificate for a unique tattoo all of their own would definitely be stepping it up a notch. Whether you get tattooed together is another story… 

In a previous post, we took a look at how you could personally express your affection on your skin. Here, we bring you more inspiration for smaller pieces and symbols to have done in the name of love, while trying to avoid the most obvious go-to staples. 

Ok, so we don’t want to disrespect the conventional heart tattoo. Nor do we have anything against Cupid and arrows. Meanwhile, there are a few, slightly more interesting traditional symbols of love you could potentially consider – many of which would make great friendship matching tattoos at that. 

Celtic love symbols Celtic love symbol

The Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a ring with two hands holding a heart with a crown. It symbolises love, loyalty, and friendship. Its origins can supposedly be traced to the fishing village of Claddagh (meaning flat stony shore) in Galway, Ireland.

Legend has it that a silversmith named Richard was captured by the Moors and brought to Africa as a slave, separating him from his sweetheart back home. Over the years, he stole small pieces of gold, from which he forged a ring for his love. As he returned to Ireland after many years, she was still waiting for him, and he presented her with the ring. 

Celtic love knots are complete loops that have no start or finish. They can be said to represent both eternity as well as love, faith, loyalty and friendship. There are many iterations of Celtic knots, which all symbolise a belief in life’s interconnectedness. The love knot looks like two interwoven hearts. 

Love from the plant kingdom

flower tattoo

Flowers have their own language. By Jo from Sutton Coldfield.

Apart from being part of the origin story for one of nature’s greatest inventions – maple syrup – maple leaves are also an expression of a different kind of sweetness. In both Japan and China, red maple leaves are used to symbolise lovers and signifies the beauty of love in everyday life. 

Other plants also express affection or devotion in different ways. For example, the Amaranth plant is a symbol of immortal love (or immortality, so you could always say that’s the meaning should things not work out later on down the road). Lavender is a symbol of happiness, devotion, peace and love; all pretty nice things to invoke.

Asters are talismans of love and trust, whereas pear blossoms stand for a lasting friendship and magnolias represent love for nature.

Flowers are a well of inspiration and make for some of the most timeless pieces. Hopefully, your love/friendship/fandom will last just as long as your new tattoo.