Although cherry tattoos can symbolize sweetness, kindness, and goodness, they are usually associated with sexuality, loss of innocence, fertility, or lust. The cherry is sweet tasting, delightful to eat, and incredibly good for you. It is filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary for good health, as well as providing one of the highest concentrations of vital antioxidants. On the other hand, they are tempting and decadent. The fruit and juice of the cherry is usually rich red in color. It is notorious for staining lips and fingers the same tantalizing shade.
For this reason, cherries are often associated with virginity because the fruit is tempting while the color mimics blood. Cherry tattoos typically symbolize this second meaning. Usually chosen by women embracing the sexual connotations, they are often tattooed around the hips and pelvis or lower back and butt area. The draw of the cherry design extends far beyond tattoos, and is a very popular motif for bras and underwear.
In a more historical sense, the cherry is less sexual. Cherry trees are found in a variety of climates and occur naturally in many parts of the world. Cherries were originally cultivated in 300 BC, making them one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Often said to be the fruit of heaven or paradise, cherries have a rich history around the world. In Japan, cherries, cherry blossoms (See cherry blossom tattoo designs), and cherry wood are all significant. The fruit and flowers represent the fleetingness of life, as well as the sweetness, and the wood wards against evil. In fact, the Samurai warriors (See Samurai tattoo designs) used the cherry as their symbol and decorated themselves with cherry blossoms before war to illustrate their readiness to die.
Today, though, cherries are almost always associated with love, chastity, or sexuality. The overall design of the cherry tattoo is important in understanding its meaning. When covered in chocolate sauce or topped with cream, a cherry tattoo becomes more tempting, but also more sweet. This tattoo is more playful, but still very sexual.
A tattoo that depicts a cherry still on the tree represents purity, innocence, morality, and chasteness. Removed from the tree, the cherry tattoo now stands for loss of innocence and virginity. Likewise, a bitten cherry tattoo also represents a loss of virginity. A bowl or mound of cherries can illustrate sexual accomplishment or conquest. When men get cherry tattoos, they usually represent past flames and lovers.
A cherry tattoo that features cherries still on the stems symbolizes freshness and youth. As a cherry matures, it will fall from the stem. The same technique can be used to decide if cherries at the grocery store are fresh – if they are firmly attached to the stem, they will soon ripen or are newly ripened.
Another common cherry tattoo design is the flaming cherry. Typically, these tattoos depict burning cherries still on the stem. The message is clear. This tattoo symbolizes a youthful desire, represented by the fact that the cherries are still on the stem, that is passionate and consuming, illustrated by the flames.
Unlike other varieties of fruit, cherries do not ripen once picked, so the cherry must only be picked when it is at its sweetest. This attribute helps to exemplify the sexual connotations of cherry tattoos and cherry symbolism. The message is blatant and obvious; a woman is best enjoyed when she is ready. To further the metaphor, summer cherries do not stay fresh for long and must be enjoyed soon after they are picked. Though love may be fleeting, the fling is well worth the effort and expense.
Problems with cherry tattoos most often arise when people, usually young girls, choose the symbol without realizing the meaning or implication of the design. It is impossible to separate the cherry from the sexual innuendo because it is so prevalent throughout the world. Today, most people recognize the connection between cherries and virginity, but few people know of the less carnal and erotic associations. Because of this, it is important to be aware of how people will view a cherry tattoo, even if the intended meaning differs greatly.
Cherry tattoos are done in a variety of styles and, interestingly, colors. Although red and pink are the common, cherry tattoos are also black, green, and blue, along with a myriad of other creative and stylistic choices. Black cherries are actually the color of mature Bing cherries, one of the most popular varieties in the United States. Green cherries can represent either unripened cherries or the mint flavored Maraschino cherry. Similarly, vibrant blue cherries are actually dyed Maraschino cherries, which come in a variety of interesting colors and flavors.