‘Soulmates’ is a term you hear often in Western Culture, usually along with variations like ‘The One,’ or ‘Other Half.’ It generally refers to someone you were fated to be with; a person which, no matter what, you would end up before the end of your story. This concept is the basis of so many Nicholas Sparks books/movies, and just about every romance plotline ever created.
Whether or not you believe in the concept, the fact of the matter is that it stems across the world and therefore has some bearing on our lives—albeit in different forms. In Eastern culture, for example, they believe in the Red String of Fate—a beautiful spin on the concept of soul mates.
According to ancient Chinese (and Japanese) folklore, the Red String of Fate is an invisible (to us, at least) red cord that was said to be tied around two individuals who were destined to be together. In some versions of the lore it is said to be tied around the little finger, while in others it was said to be tied to the ankles; but in either location, it was affixed upon birth by the gods to keep one connected with their ‘other half.’ Regardless of time, place, or circumstance, the Red String of Fate was said to stretch, loosen, and tangle, but never break—keeping the connection intact for a later time when it would be fulfilled.
While the Red String is generally considered to be the tie that binds two lovers, in some cultures it simply connects you with those who are meant to touch your life in some way or another. This can be a friend, mentor, or teacher.
The Red String of Fate has appeared in many mainstream media sources in modern times. For example, it tends to appear frequently in the popular anime and manga styles of today, as well as in several sci fi/fantasy television shows throughout the years. As of late, the magical cord has begun making its appearance in best friend and couples tattoos. These tattoos represent a beautiful story; a true expression of love and devotion to another person. They are a symbol of destiny while remaining ambiguous to those who are unaware of its true meaning. They are often small, simple, and discreet . . . making them a perfect idea for a couples tattoo, as they’re clearly there just for you, as a couple, not for the world to see or understand.
Of course, when you see someone with a red string tattooed (or simply worn) around their wrist, don’t jump to any conclusions regarding the intention of the string. In Jewish culture, for example, tying a red string around the left wrist is said to protect one against the evil eye.
Whether you’re looking to share in the belief with your soul mate or want to celebrate twenty years of friendship with that bestie of yours, the Red String of Fate is a beautiful, delicate, and simple tattoo for those who are ready to make that commitment to another person. And if you’re not, especially if you’ve had a rough go of it dating-wise lately, it is a good way to remind yourself that your one true love is out there and not to give up just yet.