Olive Branch Tattoos: What Do They Symbolize Among Tattoo Lovers

Olive branch tattoos are wonderfully tasteful and aesthetically pleasing for any artistic tattoo lover. With their unique simplicity and depth in meaning, the olive branch is a beautiful design that always compliments the body.

There are lots of different reasons an olive branch can bring meaning to you. Whether it’s your first tattoo or you are looking to complement an existing piece of art, the simplicity of the olive branch is a top contender which offers depth and intellect in meaning.

When people catch a glimpse of the tattoo it instantly intrigues them. I’ve witnessed this many times before!

Olive Branch Tattoos: What Do They Symbolize Among Tattoo Lovers

The Biblical Symbolism Behind the Olive Branch

The olive branch was a frequently used symbol in biblical times. In the story of Noah, the great flood sent him and two of each animal on an ark for 300 days during the great flood. On the 301st day, Noah sent a dove to see if the great flood had ended.

The dove came back holding an olive branch. This was the sign that the flood had ended, and the olive tree had been able to withstand the brutal conditions of the flood. In the bible, the olive branch was proof that the floodwaters had gone down enough for an olive tree to grow.

The Bible could have specified any branch, but the olive was a central part of the culture at that time. Based on this story, the olive branch represents, will, hope, persistence and life.

Why Olives?

Olives are rich in oil with a powerful taste that explodes in the palette. Olive branch tattoos and their deeper meaning adjoin with their taste and beauty.

There are lots of ways to interpret the value of an olive branch tattoo, dating back to pre-biblical times. 

There are many varieties of olives, meaning you can design your tattoo in endless ways. Whether it’s a whole tree, a simple branch with narrow leaves or a single olive on one branch, you can create a design that is unique to you. 

The Greek History Behind the Olive Branch

In ancient Greece, it was believed that the olive branch represented peace, purity, and victory. Ancient Greek women would even wear wreaths of olive branches to symbolize their purity.

The city of Athens is believed to have been given an olive tree by the Greek goddess Athena.

All the while Hercules, the king of the gods, was known to kill evil creatures with a wooden stake made from an olive tree.

Based on these stories from Greek mythology, anyone with Greek heritage would have strong connections to this tattoo.

Even without this piece of history, the meaning of peace, purity, and victory makes this a popular tattoo among many.

Does The Olive Branch Represent Peace?

An olive branch is one of our most long-lasting symbols for peace. We all wonder what exactly is the connection.

Like many of the traditional symbols, the association has ancient roots intertwined in history. Olives had many meanings to the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean and the trees can be seen everywhere you turn.

Champions at the Ancient Greek Olympic games were crowned with olive wreaths, and olive trees featured in many greek mythologies.

In one, the goddess Athena became the patron of the region of Attica after planting an olive tree there as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

In other Ancient cultures, Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, was frequently illustrated holding an olive branch, as was her Greek sister Eirene.

The image has lasted into modern times partly because of its use in the Bible, most notably in the tale of Noah and the arc and the return of the dove holding an olive branch signalling the end of the 40-day flood.

In Christian theology, the flood and the olive branch represent “the judgement that must befall all rebels while also representing the salvation that can be theirs”, writes author Tim Challies.

Other Meanings For Having An Olive Branch Tattoo Can Include

Growth

Greek olive trees are known for living thousands of years. There are olive trees in southern Greece that are known for being up to 3,000 years old. For this reason, they are often seen to symbolize longevity and growth.

Overcoming Misfortune

Olive trees can survive even the harshest weather conditions. They are very sturdy trees, making them a great symbol for overcoming struggles.

Clarity

Lots of people believe an olive branch tattoo means clarity. Those who think calmly and rationally may decide to have this design on their body for life.

As with any tattoo, the olive branch design can have a unique personal meaning. If you have a certain memory or event in your life which has strong significance to an olive branch then this too is a good reason to get it, or maybe you just love the way it looks… they’re all good reasons to get one. 

Olive Branch Tattoos

Where To Get An Olive Branch Tattoo

There are some traditional places to get an olive branch tattoo but in all honesty, it’s completely up to you and where you feel it fits you best. The size is also relevant to where you get it. If you want it huge, the wrist probably isn’t the best bet. 

A common place is on the ribs, however, this place is known to be one of the more painful parts of the body to get a tattoo.

Other popular places are on the forearm or wrists, also the ankles. Like I mentioned before, it’s a personal decision so don’t worry too much about where others get the tattoo. It’s cool to be unique. 

Because of its attractive nature that deserves to be seen, most people like their olive branch tattoo to be visible.

Olive branch tattoo designs look simple but attractive and eye-catching because of their delicate lines and aesthetically pleasing nature of the shape.

They Say Bitter Is Better

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (the foremost biblical commentator, known as Rashi, 1040-1105) quotes the following teaching of the Talmud: “The dove said, ‘Better, let my food be as bitter as an olive from the hands of God and not as sweet as honey from the hands of flesh and blood.’”

Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, explains that the olive branch shows us that rather than putting our trust in the promises of peace from man, we’re better off placing our trust in God.

Even if it may feel a bit bitter at the time, ultimately, it is this promise and covenant that will prevail.

This view was particularly prominent after the Great Flood, a time when people set out to rebuild the world based on mutual respect and cooperation.

Therefore it’s easy to assume that there is a strong symbolisation of strength, hope and rebirth, similar to that of the dove. 

Conclusion

The olive branch holds a strong symbolization of growth, strength and clarity due to its longevity and ability to grow in harsh weather conditions.

Their strong connection to the bible also gives symbolic values such as hope, overcoming adversity and rebirth. 

The olive branch is beautiful, simplistic and a great addition to any body art you may have. Although you don’t need to have any real reason to get an olive branch tattoo, here we have outlined a few reasons why some people like them and what it symbolizes currently and throughout history. 

Max Peters