18 Top Hawaiian Tattoo Design Ideas for Men and Women in 2020

The origin of Hawaiian tattoos is in Polynesia. They were known as Kakau, a word which means pain. Recall that the ancient tattoo techniques were more complicated and painful than those used today: this is why the term chosen for this body art is very appropriate.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @franziska_faulstich_ via Instagram

Why Hawaii Tattoos Are Famous?

If we were to ask ourselves why Hawaiian tattoos are so popular, the answer would be that their popularity mostly lies in their vibrant colors and designs. However, we must not forget that they are also very interesting, thanks to the symbolic load that the patterns present.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @tat2biggz via Instagram

-Hawaii Tattoos: Culture

In Hawaiian culture, tattoos can represent family history. In this case, they refer to the ancestors and the status of the clan. They can also be done for religious reasons like asking for the protection of the gods. Some sources indicate that they could also be associated with the transition from child to adult.

These tribal designs rescued from ancient Hawaiian symbols have a depth and interpretation that does not go unnoticed, let alone in the tattoo world. To delve into the philosophy of the Hawaiian tradition, in a way, is to step into a bygone era of important warriors and women who had a different status within their community, which was reflected in the tattoos that 'they were wearing.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @jaypalmer_ta via Instagram

-Designs of Hawaii Tattoos

Currently, to these patterns, we must add other designs and other styles related to the nature of the place, seen as a tropical paradise. These patterns are so popular that they have traveled the world. There is no doubt that imagination plays an important role in the representations of exotic flowers, turtles, lizards, arrows, dolphins, sharks, tribal models ... etc. These patterns are part of what defines this type of tattoos. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this type of tattoos are suitable for both men and women alike, come in all sizes and colors, and can be placed on any part of the body.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @lauramolapila via Instagram

-Features of Hawaiian Tattoos

Without a doubt, this can be one of the best choices possible if what you are looking for is an exquisite, vibrant tattoo that represents you. Since Hawaiian tattoos started to popularize, some designs have been more popular than others, such as Hula dancers. These tattoo designs appeared on the hands of sailors. The performance was based on a drawing of a sultry Hawaiian woman dancing a popular dance, characterized by the movement of her hips, the fringed skirt and the classic ukulele. This drawing which has today become one of the most popular drawings by men.

Monochromatic tribal Hawaiian tattoos done in dark blue are also among the most popular designs. The richness of the designs certainly lies in the models of Polynesian culture that men and women tattooed on their arms, hands and tongues. Hawaiian landscape motifs, plants, marine animals and birds are introduced into these designs.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @inkbycandy via Instagram

Another Hawaiian tattoo design is the famous "Niho Mano" which is nothing but a traditional tattoo based on a series of up and down triangles which looks awesome and is used as a ritual of 'initiation.

Finally, let's mention another popular, controversial and interesting Hawaii tattoo called Hei-Tiki. He is a sadistic, sinister character who possesses something macabre, and at the same time, arouses a certain sympathy. But perhaps its importance lies in its symbolic meaning, which represents fertility, because if you look closely at the character, it recalls a human embryo.

If you are here you know a bit of Hawaii history and you like this kind of Hawaiian tattoos. Hawaii has not always belonged to the United States and it is very different from other states of American culture.

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @trevorfrascatattoo via Instagram

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Different Types of Hawaiian Tattoo Design Ideas for Men and Women

Hawaiian tattoos, like all tribal tattoos, are deeply rooted in nature and spirituality. In Hawaiian culture, tattoos are initiation rites marking the transition to adulthood. The nature reality they refer to is infinitely rich and colorful, and the culture from which they originate still exists today. This is the reason why these tattoos, doors to accessible paradise, are so popular these days. Travel with us in the jungle of meanings of Hawaiian tattoos and discover the most popular of them:

 hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @808tattoohawaii via Instagram

-Hawaiian Flower Tattoo Design Idea: Anthurium

As a tattoo design, this red flower represents hospitality, kindness and friendship.

 Hawaiian Anthurium tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @pied.poppy via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Gecko

The gecko, a small lizard that is said to have supernatural powers, is a particular Hawaiian tattoo design. Usually depicted in black, in a simple and geometric style, the gecko is said to be a harbinger of disease and bad luck.

 Hawaiian Gecko tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @averis_arts via Instagram

- Hawaiian Flower Tattoo Design Idea: Hibiscus

This flower is the quintessential symbol of the Hawaiian woman. As a tattoo design, it is also associated with summer and fun.

 Hawaiian Hibiscus tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @tattoomalu via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Hula Girl

These women dancing and playing the Ukulele are a particularly typical symbol of Hawaii. They represent a dance that belongs only to Hawaiian culture.

 Hawaiian Hula Girl tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @gravesinktattoostudio via Instagram

-Hawaiian Flower Tattoo Design Idea: Orchids

Very popular in Hawaii, these flower tattoo designs are symbols of love, beauty and luxury.

 Hawaiian Orchids tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @veigaink via Instagram

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- Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Sea Turtles

Given their exceptional lifespan, as tattoo designs, sea turtles are symbols of longevity and fertility.

 Hawaiian Turtle tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @tattsbymagic via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Sharks

These fierce creatures are a strong symbol of protection. Shark designs would protect those who wear them.

 Shark Hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @studiomedusatattoo via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Seashells

Thousands of years ago, seashells were used as currency. Given their historical utility, they have come to represent prosperity and wealth in tattoo designs.

 Seashell Hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @chloemickham via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Tiki

Mythical ancestor, considered "the first human being", Tiki is a popular Hawaiian tattoo. He would have the power to anticipate danger.

 Tiki Hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @buddy.holiday via Instagram

-Hawaiian Tattoo Design Idea: Volcanoes

In an island made of 5 volcanoes, these natural eruptive formations could only become a central symbol of the life of the place. A Hawaiian volcano tattoo therefore represents a nostalgic connection with the island.

 volcano Hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @katsiarynatattoo via Instagram

Hawaiian tattoos are beautiful designs that can be worn by both men and women. They have long since crossed the borders of this tropical island and are currently chosen by people from all over the planet. They represent natural beauty in all its glory and are a living example of ancestral tattoos.

Other Hawaiian Designs in High Demand

If the tribal style doesn't match your aesthetic but you fancy a Hawaiian artwork on your skin, there are plenty of other options. Tropical flowers are one of the most popular designs to represent Hawaii. Three species are used: orchids, hibiscus and anthuriums.

The flower of the state of Hawaii is the hibiscus. It is deeply connected to the identity of this place. It symbolizes fleeting beauty, fun and summer. It is also used to pay homage to ancestors. Orchids, on the other hand, are used to represent mystery, beauty, love and luxury. Ultimately, anthuriums are synonymous with hospitality, friendliness and friendship.

 Hawaiian tattoo

Hawaiian tattoo of @inkbycandy via Instagram