National Tattoo Day 2023: Date, history, significance and celebration - Hindustan Times

National Tattoo Day 2023: Date, history, significance and celebration

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jul 16, 2023 01:52 PM IST

National Tattoo Day 2023: Here's all you need to know about the date, history, significance and celebration of National Tattoo Day

National Tattoo Day is celebrated each year in America to recognise and appreciate the art of tattooing and its cultural significance where this day is dedicated to the appreciation of tattoos as a form of self-expression, artistry and individuality. Tattoos have a long history and have been a part of various cultures worldwide for centuries.

National Tattoo Day 2023: Date, history, significance and celebration (Photo by Twitter/jk91301jk)
National Tattoo Day 2023: Date, history, significance and celebration (Photo by Twitter/jk91301jk)

They can carry deep personal meanings, symbolise significant events, represent cultural heritage or simply be admired for their aesthetic value.


National Tattoo Day is an unofficial observance celebrated on July 17 each year.

History and significance:

Tattoos have a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years and various cultures and the practice of tattooing dates back to ancient times. Archaeological evidence suggests that tattoos were used in ancient Egypt, China, Japan and other civilisations where tattoos in these cultures often had cultural, spiritual, or social significance.

Polynesia is considered one of the regions where tattooing originated and developed into a highly sophisticated art form while in places like Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand (Maori), tattoos served as symbols of status, rites of passage and tribal identity. In Southeast Asia, tattooing was also prevalent as in countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, traditional tattoo practices were used for protection, spiritual purposes and cultural identity.

Many indigenous cultures across the world, including Native Americans and various tribes, have a long history of tattooing where tattoos often played roles in rituals, spiritual beliefs and storytelling. Tattooing was less common in ancient Greece and Rome but historical accounts mention tattooed people encountered in some regions.

In Europe, tattoos were less common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, partly due to the influence of Christianity, which frowned upon body modification however, sailors and travellers sometimes brought back tattooing traditions from their voyages. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, tattooing gained popularity among sailors and military personnel, leading to the spread of tattoo culture around the world.

The first tattoo shop reportedly opened in the US in 1846 and it belonged to Martin Hildebrandt, who started his business in New York City. The tattoo shop was sought after by Union and Confederate soldiers alike and while there were only 40 tattoo artists operating in the US in 1975, by 1980 that number had ballooned to 5,000 whereas today, tattoo shops are in every city and medium-sized town in the country hence, on July 17, America honours their proprietors’ contribution to American culture.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, tattooing has become a mainstream form of art and self-expression. Advances in tattooing technology, hygiene and techniques have allowed for more intricate and detailed designs and tattooing is now a recognised art form with a diverse range of styles and techniques.

Today, tattoos continue to be an important means of self-expression, cultural identity and artistic creativity for people across the globe. Tattoo artists, enthusiasts and the broader society celebrate and appreciate the artistry and significance of tattoos in contemporary culture.


On National Tattoo Day, tattoo enthusiasts and artists often come together to celebrate their passion for body art. People may get new tattoos, share pictures of their tattoos on social media or attend tattoo-related events and gatherings.

The day also serves as an opportunity to break stereotypes and misconceptions associated with tattoos, promoting the idea that tattoos can be meaningful, beautiful and an expression of one's identity and creativity. It's important to note that while National Tattoo Day is not an official holiday, it has gained popularity over the years due to the increasing acceptance and appreciation of tattoos as an art form and a means of self-expression in modern society.

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