Mayflower Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Mayflower Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

The mayflower is a small, delicate flower that is often more easily characterized by the large leaves that surround it. A Mayflower tattoo can symbolize welcome and is the state flower of Massachusetts.

What is the History of Mayflower Tattoos?

The Mayflower is a plant that is native to Europe and Northern America but it is actually the state flower of Massachusetts. In fact, the plant is also referred to as the lily of the valley. It’s the same plant with a different name. Both of these parts are actually represented in its Latin name (Convallaria majalis) which literally translates to “of the valley” “May”. 

The reason why the plant is also known as the “Mayflower” is because it begins to bloom in early May and is a celebration of warmer weather. 

The two versions of this particular flower, those found in North America and those found in central Europe hardly reassemble each other.


The reason for this is that they are actually different species. Although the Mayflower found in Europe is Convallaria majalis, the Mayflower found in North America is Epigaea repens.

So, even though they are technically different species, the North American Mayflower and the European Mayflower both take their name for the same reason… they bloom in May. As such, both have become an iconic representation of spring throughout the years, even dating back as far as the ancient Greeks.

The European version (also known as the lily of the valley) was a symbol of the Greek goddess of flower, aptly named Flora. This association with spring has persisted over history and spread rapidly throughout Europe, making the flower synonymous with spring and new beginnings. 


Mayflower tattoos, however, have not enjoyed such popularity. Although the flower is beautiful and delicate the meanings behind it are still left relatively unknown. However, one reason why it may be the tattoo of choice is for those living in Massachusetts, where it is the official state flower.

Sadly, the Mayflower has paled in comparison to the popularity of other flowers for a tattoo, such as red roses, and has not gained “iconic” status as of yet.

What Do Mayflower Symbolize?

As the name suggests, this flower is strongly connected to the month of May and is hence a symbol of spring, new beginnings and rebirth. This idea of a fresh start comes about because the flower blooms in spring, adorning the fields and gardens where it grows.

Due to its association with spring, the flower also represents just about all of the meanings that come with the idea of spring. This includes welcome, forgiveness and hope for a better year.


Dating back to 16th-century France when women would carry around a small bouquet of lily of the valley, the Mayflower also came to symbolize good fortune, health and happiness. On the first of May the men would also place a sprig of the flower in their lapel to bring them good luck.

Its association with France does not stop there and the flower has come to be a symbol of some of the biggest French icons.

For example, the flower is the emblem of the fashion house Christian Dior, and is regularly used in many of the house’s perfumes. It was also a signature of the French singer Félix Mayol, who often wore it in his buttonhole as a good luck charm.


What Do Mayflower Tattoos Mean?

The Mayflower has come to mean many different things and despite the name actually referring to two different plants the meanings behind both correlate almost entirely.

Because of its connection to the season of spring a Mayflower tattoo can mean a whole range of things and the exact meaning will be personal to the person who gets the tattoo. 

For example, the tattoo could mean a new beginning, closing the chapter of an old part of your life and moving on, it could mean that you are welcoming in a new decade, a new section of your life such as marriage or becoming a parent. 

The tattoo could even mean that you have some connection to the founding fathers of America who sailed from Europe to the new land on a ship called “The Mayflower”. Or simply if you are from the state of Massachusetts then you could have the tattoo as a reminder of home.

Because the Mayflower is so widely spread all over the world it has the sense of uniting people in a common symbolism and a sense of togetherness.


Where Do Mayflower Tattoos Usually Go?

Mayflowers are the perfect choice if you are indecisive about where you want to place your tattoo. Perhaps you have a certain style in mind but need your artist’s opinion on the placement or maybe you just need to fill a hole, either way, the flower is the perfect adaptable tattoo.

The tattoo can be as big or small as you like, in a bunch or as a single stem. This means that the placement is up to you. Typically the more traditional placements such as men getting tattoos on their arms and women on their ribs or wrists will come into play here.

However, you should always make sure that you are comfortable with the placement and that it suits your tattoo.


Characteristics and Styles of Mayflower Tattoos

When it comes to Mayflower tattoos they come in all different shapes and sizes because there are technically two different types of the flower. Which version you choose is up to you.

If you choose a tattoo of the European Mayflower then you can opt for a delicate single row of flowers. Because of the muted colors here, the tattoo is very often done in black and white and using fine line work.

However, the North American version allows for more playfulness due to the different color variations. You can opt for strong, bold depictions of the flower or you can choose something more delicate along the lines of watercolor.


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