A long time ago, we learned that handshake is a token of peace and friendship. We can all remember times in our lives when we were thrilled and shook our friend’s hand to express our contentment with a situation. You watch business people shake hands to make a deal in the movies. The handshake serves as your word of honor. It might not be as firm of a meaning today, but many people still trust the power of a handshake. The handshake is a meaningful symbol that we even see people get it tattooed on their bodies. Whether it’s used as a tattoo filler or the main focus, the handshake tattoo design has been present for a long time, and it’s here to stay.
We usually connect the handshake with good things. However, we often see symbols, especially in tattooing, that make us understand that not all handshakes are optimistic or have happy meanings. Depending on what the tattoo is representing, it might change the feeling of the image.
- History of Handshakes
By definition, this gesture is a ritual in which two people clasp their hands together and temporarily move them up and down. There are diverse customs with handshakes depending on the culture. Some may partake in the act more than others.
The ancient Greeks participated in handshaking as evidence of this activity went back to the 5th century BC. In the Pergamon Museum, there is a representation of two soldiers shaking hands on a funerary stele.
The handshake is recognized as one of the highest forms of symbolic exchange. It is capable of uniting, broking peace, sealing deals, and dividing. This expression that is so simple can be more authoritative than a host of speeches. We are aware that we did it, and no matter what kind of result we receive, that handshake happens, and we don’t forget about it.
Even in the Middle Ages, handshakes were present when peace treaties and agreements were not written down very often. This is the reason why people used other methods to lock in the deal. Most often, they would swear an oath and then offered the kiss of peace. The handshake is another way of making a promise.
One of the most famous handshakes happened in Jamaica at a peace concert in 1978. Bob Marley convinced Michael Manley, the Prime Minister, and opposition party leader Edward Seaga to shake hands while on stage. This was a significant gesture as these two parties participated in heavy fighting during the time.
This means that the gesture’s symbolism can be used for good reasons, and it can be used in treachery.
- Handshake Tattoo Variations
As previously mentioned, the meaning of the handshake tattoo can represent many feelings. Below are some of the most popular handshake tattoos, and what we feel is the meaning behind them based on our research.
- Snake Biting Handshake Tattoo
The snake handshake tattoo is a very popular design. It expresses a compelling lesson that many need to learn in life. This lesson is that believing in other people can have serious consequences. Although the standard handshake tattoo symbolizes trust, union, and peace, this tattoo symbolizes betrayal somehow. When you believe in someone, you let your guard down and make it easier for someone to lie, cheat, or steal. Unfortunately, people do this, but you have to be cautious of whom you trust, and this tattoo is a witness to that sentiment.
- Handshake Tattoo with Peace Symbols
This is a self-explanatory tattoo. Lots of people consider the handshake as an agreement of peace. Other symbols are used to represent peace, such as the olive branch, doves, or even a heart. All of these symbols are positive that represent a peaceful resolution or friendship that has lasted.
- Handshake Tattoo with Devil Hand
The handshake with the devil tattoo represents a gloomier part of the person’s life with this tattoo. Most of the handshakes symbolize that a deal has been made, and this tattoo is used to represent the same thing. There is even a famous saying about making a deal with the devil. This generally revolves around somebody accomplishing something that nobody thought they could do. If you make a deal with the devil, you receive the fulfillment of your wish, but when you pass, the devil will most likely get your soul.
- Handshake Tattoo with Horseshoe
In many designs, the handshake is combined with a horseshoe in the background. This image might symbolize a friendship that they hope to have continued good luck with. It can also represent a deal made, and both parties desire for the best.
- Family First Handshake Tattoo
This tattoo speaks about making sure your family comes before everything else. We sometimes get lost in the shuffle of life and work, but we need to keep in mind what got us there. Your family played a big role in that for sure, so the family first handshake reminds you of that.
As you can see, there is a strong symbolism behind a handshake tattoo. Just like the gesture itself, this tattoo is very powerful.