Do you like bunnies? As humans we can’t help but love these cute furry creatures. It’s impossible to avoid their influence in popular culture: Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Yet even in the ancient world, these critters were revered to a certain extent.
Despite Jewish folklore portraying rabbits as cowards, other civilizations considered them symbols of the divine. Throughout Asia this animal is often related to the moon. According to Chinese mythology, this mammal accompanies the Goddess Chang’e and is a shadow visible on the Earth’s satellite.
For the Anishibaabe people in the American continent, the rabbit is a very important figure. Nanabozho was a rabbit in human form who created the world. This spirit named each species of plants and animals, invented writing, and practiced ancient medicine. This shape-shifting deity was a trickster who’d make other creatures small in order to catch them.
This animal is also a sign of good luck throughout the planet. The belief of carrying a rabbit’s foot to avoid misfortune is attributed to the Celtic people from 600 BC.
One of the sweetest stories comes from Vietnamese folklore, where the rabbit is perceived as a defenseless, adorable, happy, and innocent creature. This idea has permeated into American Easter traditions. According to the myth, these fluffy mammals are also victims of the wrath of the Gods, who target them to prove their superiority.
Another interesting story hails from the island of Portland in the United Kingdom, where it’s said that to name this critter comes with a wave of bad luck. This originated from an overpopulation that proved problematic to the community.
One of the most interesting legends comes from Aztec culture, in the form of the deity known as Centzon Totochtin. This god was made out of 400 rabbits who’d gather to have huge bacchanals. This led to pre-Columbian cultures relating them to fertility and celebration.
Choosing to get a rabbit tattoo does not only mean having a design of an animal, but that of a cultural symbol. They can be made to bring good luck, to remember your childhood stories, or as an homage to the moon. Whatever the reference, we’ve loved rabbits for thousands of years and will continue to do so.
Looking for more ideas? Check out these tattoos inspired on insects and breakups.
Translated by María Suárez