Meaning of Tatau 3


The Tatau in Samoan Culture:

While searching for the meaning of the Tatau one must learn about the Tatau in Samoan culture. The Tatau is integrated into Samoan culture and people. Historically, and traditionally, the Tatau was never considered a negative thing, or associated with any things or anyone negatively.

Tatau in Samoa is not: an act of rebellion, spur of the moment decision, done while intoxicated, or associated with criminals, or a hidden mark.

Tatau in Samoa is: rite of passage, a family involved event in life, symbol of service to 'Aiga - family and Matai - Chiefs, art form thousands of years old, a symbol of Aganu'u - culture and/or pursuit of culture knowledge, Living Fa'a Samoa - the Samoan way

If any the only negative associated with the Tatau are: An unfinished Tatau and the negative actions done by those who practiced or live with the Tatau on them.


To define the word "Tatau" as Striking till we reach a satisfactory conclusion or completion (of the Tatau) could mean that we could use the word to describe the action of Tatau, art form of Tatau, and to generally define Tatau much as the word Tattoo is used other languages. The understand the meaning of the Tatau goes beyond the definition of the word. One must understand its origin, its literal meaning, how it is integrated into the culture, into the lives of those who practice and live with the art.