When some people choose tattoo designs, they do so with a lot of care and select a design that has personal meaning. Tattoo artists suggest making it a priority to pick something that connects to you and your personality, no matter the appearance. With this idea in mind, many people get inked with designs that are linked to a love, memory, or milestone. One of the newer trends in the tattoo world is the red string of fate. Not only is this particular design connected to true love, but also to a very old, yet very timeless, legend.

Seen on the fingers, wrists, and ankles of its wearers, the red string of fate has its roots in Chinese folklore. As it goes, Yue Lao, also known as the old man under the moon, is the god of marriage and love. His most famous tale comes from the Tang Dynasty and concerns a young man named Wei Gu. Wei, a young bachelor, set out to visit a friend in another town. On the way, he stopped at an inn. Word reached a local matchmaker that Wei was in town and he arranged for a meeting with the young man. Wei stepped out before sunrise and on his way, met an old man who was lying on a bag and reading a book under the moonlight. Asking what book it was, the old man replied that it was a magic book called the Book of Marriages. It contained a record of all human marriages on Earth. Asking what was in the bag, Wei was told that it held red strings. These red strings were invisibly tied to the feet of every man and woman in the world as two partners who were fated to be together from birth. No matter how far apart, how much they liked or disliked one another, or their social background, it was to be an everlasting union.

Image of red string tattoo on anklesPinterest
Of course Wei wanted to know who his future wife would be, and the man pointed to a blind woman and said her three-year-old daughter would become his wife one day. He was so unconvinced that he could marry someone who came from poverty that he tried to have the girl killed. After many years, Wei married a beautiful young woman who was hiding something under a decoration on her forehead. It was then Wei learned it was a scar from when he tried to have her killed as a girl. The blind woman was a wet nurse for the orphaned girl. After realizing what the old man told him came true, he figured out he met the old matchmaking god himself.

Red string of fate tattoo on pinkyPinterest
And so it is today that the red string carries meaning to couples who either wish for or recognize a true and eternal love, tied by fate forever. In Japanese lore, the string is tied around each lover’s finger. It’s said that the string can get tangled or stretched but will remain unbreakable. When you see others with these tattoos, or if you have any yourself, just smile, knowing that Yue Lao is pulling the strings to bring fated lovers together. To hear a version of the story, click on SailorMeTalks’ video below. How about you? What story has influenced your tattoo or meeting your true love? Share in the comments!