The concept of tattoo pilgrims has been followed for the past seven hundred years. Palestinian Christian tattoo artist Wassim Razzouk has been serving the tattoo pilgrims for ten years now. The family owns a tattoo parlor in the heart of the Old Jerusalem City.
The holy tattoo for the Christians came into existence around 640 A.D. East Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims; therefore, Christians were tattooed on their right wrist with a small cross.
All about the Razzouk family
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The Razzouk family is responsible for setting the custom of tattoo pilgrims in motion. This family mainly belonged to Egypt, but they migrated to Israel to carry forward the old tradition of pilgrim marking.
Anton, after his father Jacob, has been working as a tattoo artist for the past 50 years. He has plenty of interesting stories about pilgrims and their tattoos owingto his time at the parlor.
In Israel, he had the opportunity to see the culture of the holy land pilgrim tattoo. He was so desperate that he started tattooing pilgrims by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. His work soon gained immense popularity. Therefore, the tradition of tattooing pilgrims here was carried forward by his successors.
How has tattoo pilgrims technology changed over the decades?
As soon as you enter the tattoo shop, you see old equipment decked up in boxes made out of glass. Black and white images of the family members associated with the tattoo parlordecorate the walls. A book having all the possible Christian designs for tattoo pilgrims is kept on the counter.
Though the method of making tattoos has been modernized, the blocks used to carve out tattoos date back to centuries. 150 wooden blocks were purchased by Jacobs’s father when he visited Israel.
To this day, the wooden blocks are used while a tattoo is carved out on one’s body. The blocks have some authentic and traditional Christian designs. This only says one thing: any person with such a tattoo is nothing but a Christian by faith.
The old tradition of pilgrim marking has been going on so that Christians can be recognized. Speaking of current rituals, a book full of designs is shown to customers to help tattoo pilgrims choose one.
However, this wasn’t the case many centuries ago. Earlier, wooden blocks were shown to the customers. The customers selected a block to have its design carved upon themselves. Post this, the wooden block was placed on the bare skin after dipping it in a pot of ink. Nowadays what happens is the temporary design isprinted on the skin instead of carving it. Following this, the tattoo artist uses an electronic machine to make it permanent.
This is the authenticity which the family tattoo parlor is still maintaining. No such way of carving the skin and making tattoos can be found anywhere else in the world. The parlor specializes in authentic Christian designs since the ancient times.
What is the main reason behind tattooing babies?
Why is a holy land pilgrim tattoo made? In the year 1960’s a group of people who were going for their pilgrimage visited the tattoo parlor. A pregnant lady and her husband got themselves tattooed. They also had their baby son while they were in Israel. It so happened that when it was time to go home their flight to Egypt was delayed by almost three hours.
The couple’s friends asked them to get their son tattooed by going back to the same tattoo parlor. The couple believed that this was God’s way and that He wanted to get their son tattooed. Anton’s father, Jacob, was still a tattoo artist back then, and he reluctantly agreed to the couple’s requests. The baby’s arm was tattooed and the parents set off to their own country.
After fifteen years the child returned to the same shop and asked for the maker of his tattoo. As Jacob had already passed away by then, his son Anton came forward. Anton informed him that his father was dead and that he is now the owner of the family business.
By this time, the tattoo carved on the then-baby’s arm had grown and stretch considerably in size. It was nothing but quite apparent on the 15-year-old’s arm. The concept of tattoo pilgrims is now even passed onto the children so that they can be recognized as Christians.
Tattoos resemble religion
Tattoo pilgrims are increasing in number day by day. The Razzouk family is known to be serving the Christian pilgrims for many centuries. The mark of Christianity is crucial when you are in Egypt since itspeaks volumes about your Christian faith.
You can only access the insides of the Church in Egypt if you sport such a tattoo mark on your body. Coptic Christians in Egypt make a small cross on their right wrist so that they can be identified.
The Razzouks are doing a great job of maintaining the age-old tradition and heritage. Such characteristics are the sole mark and symbolize tattoo pilgrims like those that nothing else does. Christians get themselves tattooed so that they can be distinguished from other religions, especially when they are in Egypt.