GET INKED

101 Things to Do (Maui) - - Food & Fun -

In Hawai‘i, tat­toos came in a va­ri­ety of de­signs and sym­bols, each hold­ing its own sig­nif­i­cance—so­cial stand­ing and rank, re­li­gious de­vo­tion, brav­ery in war, her­itage and rites of pas­sage.

Poly­ne­sians have dec­o­rated their bod­ies with TAT­TOOS for cen­turies. In Hawai‘i, tat­toos came in a va­ri­ety of de­signs and sym­bols, each hold­ing its own SIG­NIF­I­CANCE— so­cial stand­ing and rank, re­li­gious de­vo­tion, brav­ery in war, her­itage and rites of pas­sage. Even to this day, some tat­toos are still passed on from fam­ily mem­ber to fam­ily mem­ber. While the TAT­TOO­ING TRA­DI­TION both shocked and fas­ci­nated the Euro­pean ex­plor­ers who first en­coun­tered it in the early 1800s, it is now no longer an od­dity in Western cul­ture. In fact, in 2006, the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Academy of Der­ma­tol­ogy re­leased poll re­sults that showed 24 per­cent of Amer­i­cans be­tween ages 18 and 50 are tat­tooed. It helps that the tech­nique, pig­ments and artists have grown more so­phis­ti­cated over the years. Hun­dreds of years ago, POLY­NE­SIANS were tat­tooed with “nee­dles” made from sharp­ened bones or shells, which were tied to a stick and dipped in INK MADE FROM KUKUI NUT. The point was then struck by a mal­let and pounded into the skin. In fact, the “TAT, TAT, TAT” sound made by the mal­let strik­ing the stick is where the word “tat­too” comes from.

For those un­sure about go­ing un­der the nee­dle, there is way to get a TEM­PO­RARY TAT­TOO to mark your trip: The pop­u­lar in­tri­cate body art called HENNA. This ver­sion is kid-friendly, lasts up to three weeks and can be cho­sen from a stock of se­lec­tions or de­signed by you.

As for those with a de­sire for the most per­ma­nent of sou­venirs, tat­too par­lors are scat­tered through­out Maui. You choose from de­signs that run the gamut, from tra­di­tional sailor or Ja­panese im­ages to Hawai­ian-style or even por­trait tat­toos. Ask is­land res­i­dents or your concierge for the best places to “get inked” near you.

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