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RIP Tattoos

Updated on April 14, 2012

RIP tattoos are a long standing popular way to remember a loved one when they have passed away. Usually, the tattoo will be in memory of a relative, but on occasions people have had RIP tattoos to remember their beloved pet, or even a favourite musician.

Although the tattoo has historically been more popular with men, RIP tattoos for girls are becoming increasingly popular too. Of course, whatever you decide on should be especially pertinent for you, whether you choose RIP tattoos with wings of an angel or simply one with the dates of the person’s birth and death along with their name.

Some people prefer a more creative approach and have the lyrics to a song or a poem tattooed instead. However, these are more unusual and the more popular types of RIP tattoos are listed below:

Which RIP Tattoo to Choose

R.I.P. and RIP Cross Tattoos

Perhaps the most popular tattoo to remember a lost one by are the standard RIP tattoos. These usually simply state the name of the deceased along with RIP, which stands for Rest In Peace, perhaps the most often featured words in any cemetery. These simple words often indicate a release from suffering that the person has gone through, especially those that have suffered long illnesses. A more elaborate version of this approach are the RIP cross tattoos which act in a similar manner but bear the religious iconography of the cross, one of the most popular symbols of Christianity.

Dates of Birth and Death

Replicating the format of a headstone, this simple way of remembering a loved one is also extremely popular. It can range from a very simple text version to a more elaborate and decorative one, for example, if a father was keen on soccer, then the wording could be tattooed onto his team’s favourite scarf. Even with simple and plain wording however, there are a wide number of tattoo fonts that can be chosen from.

Heart Shaped RIP Tattoos

Whilst the heart is usually used to represent love for someone whilst they are alive, heart tattoos are also used to indicate a person’s love for someone who has passed away. Sometimes this may be done as an expression of the love that they never spoke about. Broken heart tattoos are also sometimes used to indicate the way that a person feels about the bereaved.

Portraits and Religious Tattoos

Portrait Tattoos

Portrait tattoos can be a very effective way of never forgetting a loved one as you will see it everyday and remember their smile. It is extremely important though to be extremely careful that you avoid anyone with a reputation for bad portrait tattoos as this is likely to cause regret each time that you look at it. As the deceased is important to you, if you decide to have a portrait tattoo, you should be prepared to invest a decent amount of money to ensure that you get a good one.

Religious Tattoos

There are many religions of the world and therefore many religious icons which can be used for a religious tattoo. However, in the west, the cross is perhaps the most popular. This is followed by praying hands tattoos which are favoured largely by the catholic community. Angel tattoos are also popular, especially where a young child has passed away. You should, perhaps, be cautious however if you are of a different faith to the deceased as, although they are not around to be offended, you may regret in later years have a religious tattoo that goes against what they believed in.

One of the many examples of unusual RIP tattoos!
One of the many examples of unusual RIP tattoos!

Small RIP Tattoos

The Winged Heart Tattoo

The winged heart tattoo is sometimes used instead of the plainer version, with the deceased name and dates of birth and death appearing on the wings. As it is more decorative than the plain heart tattoo, it generally is considered to be more attractive. It is often used when small RIP tattoos are preferred to larger ones.

Whichever RIP tattoos you do decide to have done though, it is important to give a lot of thought and consideration before going ahead as your RIP tattoo is there to remind you of a loved one that you have lost and you will not want to have that memory tarnished by making a rash decision that you later may regret.


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