Sunset Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Sunset Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Sunset tattoos come in a variety of designs, but most carry the meanings of a hidden part of yourself, light, truth and rebirth. Depending on the design there can also be additionally meaning from other elements.

When most people think of a sunset tattoo there isn’t usually one design that comes to mind, different people will have different images in their head. This is because the sunset tattoo is such a versatile piece of art that you can really customize it to make it your own.

Tattoos are often chosen because of the deep symbolic meaning behind them, and not only does a sunset provide you with that meaning but because it lends itself so well to part of a larger design (this can include mountains, trees, birds or anything else that you like) it can create an amazing piece that truly represents what you want it to.

Here we will talk you through the history of the tattoo, its different variations and its meanings to help you figure out if this is the tattoo for you.


What is the History of Sunset Tattoos?

Although people have admired the sunset for years and years, the image itself has not really become a staple in the world of tattooing. Granted, the sun is often a common symbol but this is typically used in many other ways, either by itself or just as a backdrop to another design. The sunset specifically, however, is less common.

In fact, it is very easy to confuse sunset and sunrise tattoos as both include a partial sun and a horizon. So, what is the difference between the two? The coloring. The sunrise will have a lighter overall tone whereas the sunset will be depicted using darker hues.

As tattoos are now becoming more widely recognized as an expression of art people are getting bigger and bigger pieces, as opposed to traditional tattoos which were small and standalone. This means that the sun features in a lot more tattoos than it did previously. 

You can choose to either have the sunset image by itself or to include it as part of a larger piece. The choice is yours, but by adding in this extra element to your design you can give your tattoo added depth.

What Do Sunset Tattoos Symbolize?

Sunsets symbolize a multitude of things and can be used to represent both happy and sad meanings. For example, generally, this image symbolizes truth and light. Because the sun is disappearing it means that something is about to disappear but will come back soon. So, if you are beginning a new chapter in your life then this is a great way to recognize this.

When you put these meanings together the tattoo comes to mean rebirth and new beginnings.

Within the wider context of this, sunset tattoos can also mean truth, regeneration, energy, epiphanies and guidance. Generally, this tattoo design is a positive affirmation for the person.

However, recently sunsets have also come to be associated with people who have passed away, both as a reminder of them and that they are still watching over us. If you have recently lost a loved one then a sunset tattoo is a beautiful way to remember them without making the tattoo design too personal or obvious.


What Do Sunset Tattoos Mean?

There can be a variety of different meanings behind these tattoos and these can change depending on what other elements you add into the tattoo.

For example, if you choose a design with mountains as well then your tattoo will mean strength and the ability to overcome obstacles. In reference to losing a loved one this could be the ability to carry on without them.

On the other hand, the beach sunset scene has a happier meaning and means rebirth and new beginnings. 

People often choose designs that include water, and potentially trees and dolphins. When the water is included in such designs it gives the tattoo the meaning of freedom and possibilities. 


Palm trees are another common element to sunset tattoos and you may be able to guess this meaning yourself as people often associate palm trees with holidays and relaxing. This type of design means that someone wants to slow down, relax and enjoy life a little bit more.

However, this can also be a reminder of a holiday or time spent in a relaxing place. Some religious people also use this to mean rebirth, given the connection of Jesus to the palm trees for Christians, which is then only strengthened by the addition of the sun.


Where Do Sunset Tattoos Usually Go?

Because the tattoo design is so versatile, meaning that you can simply have the sun by itself or as a part of a larger design, for example, including palm trees, the sea or mountains, you can adapt the design to fit anywhere that you want on your body.

If it is a small design then consider areas such as the wrist or ankle which lend themselves well to smaller and more delicate tattoos. However, if it is a larger piece then you will need a larger, flatter area to work with. The back, shoulder and chest are all good options for a larger design.

If you want a larger design to wrap around your placement, for example, your thigh or your upper arm then ask your artist if they think that this will work or if your design needs to be adapted to better suit the placement.


Characteristics and Styles of Sunset Tattoos

You can add any additions to your tattoo that you like. This can either be to give it extra meaning or to add another element. If you want to make sure that people know that it is a sunset tattoo then make sure that it is in color as otherwise it could easily be mistaken for a sunrise tattoo.

Choosing to silhouette images against this background is a great way to make these other elements pop.

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