Wishbone Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

The ‘wishbone game’ has been played for many centuries. We are usually introduced to this game around Thanksgiving time when after the turkey is eaten, we are left with the skeletal remains of the bird.

One of these bones within the turkey is called the furcula bone. This bone is located between the neck and the breast of the bird, supporting the body in a two-pronged fork shape. This bone is usually removed prior to the feast, set out and dried for a 3-day period.

Once the bone is presented, we are then told to hold one of the brittle prongs, while someone else holds onto the other half. The bone is then broken between the two individuals and whoever has the larger half, is granted one wish.

Wishbone Tattoo Meaning

Although we see this as a fun game to play with family around the dinner table, when this idea was first conceived, it was not a game to the ones playing it at all. The Etruscans were a wealthy civilization of people in ancient Italy. It was this civilization that began the widespread of the idea of the ‘wishbone’.

Birds have always been a symbol of good fortune and a means of looking into the future. In the ancient times, many people held true to the magic of the world around them, not knowing much about the world as we do today. The Etruscans believed in the tellings of the bird, once they killed a bird for a meal, they would take out and save the furcula bone within the creature. Because this bone is structured to enable the bird to take flight, the ancient Etruscans believed this bone had a sort of mythical power within it. Unlike how we make our ‘wishes’ today with the bone, the Etruscans did not break the bone in half.

They found that the bone was much more powerful to them when the bone was taken from the remains and let out to dry. Instead of breaking the bone in half, they would rub their hands over and stroke the bone, much like the famous genie in a bottle concept. As they would stroke the bone, they made a wish that would not only benefit themselves, but the wish would benefit all of the Etruscans as well.

It was not until the Romans learned of the wishbone that the bone was broken in half. The Romans would break the wishbone in half because of the scarcity of birds in their area. Breaking the bone in half and given to two different parties would weaken the effects of the wishbone, but at the same time, both parties would have a piece of the magical bone to grant wishes from.

As the British learned of the wishbone, they turned it into a completely different meaning. The Britain’s took the wishbone and turned it into a game. In the 17th century, the wishbone would be the bone that predicted who would be the next to get married. Like catching the bouquet of flowers at a wedding, they would take the wishbone and place it on their nose. The participant was most normally a woman.

As the individual was balancing the unbroken wishbone on the tip of their nose, they were to make the wish before the bone fell to the ground. In some cases, if the bone did fall to the ground, the loser would have a second chance at it.

The wishbone would be broken in half, and if the loser guessed which hand the longer piece was hidden in, usually there would be another person holding the broken wishbone, the loser would then be predicted to be the next to marry! This idea was spread throughout many colonies and eventually worked its way up to the United States when the pilgrims demonstrated this game as a way of ‘good fortune’.

Wishbone Tattoo Designs

The idea of the wishbone and its magical wishing powers is most known to many people in many cultures. The symbol of the wishbone by itself is one to have people thinking of their deepest desires. If you are one that is all about having good luck charms tattooed on your body, the wishbone design is perfect for you.

This wishbone is a symbol of good luck and hope for the future. The wishbone is a very creative way of showing that you are optimistic and have wishful thinking. There are many different designs you can display your wishbone tattoo.

Broken Wishbone Tattoo

A broken wishbone is a fun way to show off your wishbone tattoo. A wishbone that is not broken is also a great design, but if you want to add a little more life to the wishbone, having a simple crack or displacement of the pronged bone can really add onto the tattoo. Placement for this tattoo really depends on where you would like it.

This graphic is simple and can basically fit in well with any other tattoos you may already have. If you want this to be a big graphic, or even a medium sized graphic, it would be best to plan on getting this tattoo on a spot where you have a lot of free space to get inked. The classic black ink wishbone tattoo is an option, or you could add color if you want more of flashy piece.

If you are just looking to add this wishbone tattoo to your collection of mini tattoos, this tattoo is also popular as a wrist tattoo or on the thumb. This design is so simple that placement for the tattoo is infinite.

Wishful Hands Tattoo

This is another design that is popular amongst those who have a wishbone tattoo piece. This particular design is usually a medium sized graphic, this is because you must accompany a pair of hands with your wishbone.

Just like the old folklore tale of breaking the wishbone and that with the larger piece has his wish granted, this image depicts just that. With two hands at either side of the pronged bone, ready to grab and snap, this image is a unique way of going about the wishbone tattoo. Whether you would like to show which hand wins or not, is up to you.

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