Cinnabar mole tattoos have become popular among young couples in China, especially those who were born after 2000, to mark their destined love.
Young couples believe that cinnabar moles in similar places on their body mark their exclusive love code. As a result, they tattoo scarlet beauty marks to show their sincerity to the relationship.
Chu Chaohui, a research fellow at China's National Institute of Education Sciences, told the Global Times that the young generation like to pursue difference. Tattooing a cinnabar mole for love is vogue among them. Showing off among peers may also be the reason why it has become a popular subculture.
Many netizens posted their photos of their cinnabar mole tattoos on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. One netizen tattooed a red mark on the inside of her wrist writing "Every pulse is saying I love you."
"We'll be together forever. With the cinnabar mole, we can find each other and become lovers again in the next life," another netizen who had it tattooed on their finger commented.
Chinese people became aware of the romanticism regarding cinnabar moles from Eileen Chang (1920-1995), one of the most significant writers in modern Chinese literature.
In the book Red Rose, White Rose, she said "Marry a red rose and eventually she'll be a mosquito-blood streak smeared on the wall, while the white one is "moonlight in front of my bed." Marry a white rose, and before long she'll be a grain of sticky rice that's gotten stuck on your clothes; the red one, by then, is a scarlet beauty mark just over your heart."
However, not all young couples are keen on expressing their love this way.
"For me, love has more of a spiritual significance. This kind of superficial commemoration is too formalistic and has no practical significance," a 19-year-old girl surnamed Li from Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province told the Global Times on Saturday.
Li finds this way of expressing love too childish, saying that she will never tattoo cinnabar moles with her boyfriend.