Only in the military, Kendall!**BG**
The custom of beating or playing "tattoo" as a solemn conclusion to the military day is an honored one, which grew out of humble circumstances. It began with a simple Army routine, which originated in the 17th century when British troops, then engaged in Holland, were billeted in towns and villages where local inns were the social centers for the soldiers. Military authorities, faced with the problem of calling stragglers to their quarters, sent a drummer through the streets. His beat was the signal for the innkeepers to stop the sale of beverages. The Dutch idiom was "doe den taptoe" which freely translated means "Turn off the taps." The word "taptoe" was absorbed into official documents and is now generally accepted as the origin of the word "tattoo."
Tattooing was an integral part of ancient Tahitian society. It was far more than merely a bodily ornament. Tattoos would indicate a young girl's sexual maturity, freedom from food tabus and other restrictions, genealolgy and one's rank within society. Nearly everyone in ancient Tahitian society was tattooed. The early French explorer Bougainville noted that "the women of Tahiti dye their loins and buttocks a deep blue" and Captain Cook returned from the Pacific with stories of the art of tatau (hence, the origin of the word tattoo). Shortly after the missionaries arrival the practice was strictly banned, as it was viewed it as a sinful glorification of the flesh. In recent years, however, the art of tattooing has enjoyed a renaissance. Tahitians, and other Polynesians as well, are once again taking pride and interest in their cultural heritage, finding their identity in the revival of many lost arts--including the traditional tatau.