The reason why people get Mexican tattoos cannot be boiled down simply to cultural pride. Given Mexico’s rich history, fascinating folklore and colorful art, it is understandable why people from all walks of life gravitate towards these particular pieces.
Many Mexican tattoos feature very specific icons such as the national flag, religious symbols, and occasionally show ties to Aztec and other native tribes. In the past, Aztec designs were done ritualistically and always depicted gods. One of the most frequently seen is Huitzilopochtli — the sun god. Huitzilopochtli is often seen as an elaborately decorated god, and may be shown following the story of the god of the sun locked in battle with the moon and stars.
Religious symbols also have a significant part in Mexican tattoos. A regular design is of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or, Our Lady of Guadalupe. This icon of the 16th century depiction of the Virgin Mary is a well loved symbol, and has been said to work many miracles. One can use the traditional image of a magnificent, yet solemn woman; hands in prayer, head bowed, and surrounded in golden light. Some have reported seeing their reflection in the eyes of statues; by placing a significant image (such as people, children, animals, even the planet as a whole) in the loving eyes of this well known image of the Virgin Mary, you can create a striking religious symbol.
Many Mexican tattoos feature scenes from some of the most celebrated festivities. The most recognizable, of course, is Los Dias de Los Muertos, or, the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is meant to honor relatives who have passed on, and ancient ancestors. It is also a commemoration of both death and life, therefore, throughout these celebrations; paper mache sculptures are created to depict the dead in everyday situations of life. For this variety of Mexican tattoos, one can use skeletal figures dancing, working and loving as living people would do. Another function which can be translated is Los Posadas. The candlelit procession can be rendered into art; for an example, you can start at the shoulders with Mary and Joseph, followed by childlike angels and ending at the hips with the Three Kings.
Whether your tattoo is a sign of pride, or simply a fascination with the history of Mexico and its plentiful beauty, you will without a doubt find something that speaks to you.