Ariana Grande: Meaning behind Manchester Arena bee symbol and tattoo


The bee tattoo has a powerful meaning (Picture: Rex/Twitter/Ariana Grande/Getty)

Five years ago today in 2017, horror struck the Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had just finished performing a concert, when a bomb was detonated in the foyer of the venue.

More than a thousand people were physically injured after the blast and 22 people died, in addition to the attacker, who caused utter devastation when he set off the shrapnel-laden explosive.

Following the bombing, Ariana visited fans in hospital before putting on her One Love Manchester benefit concert in the wake of the terror attack, which featured performances from artists including Robbie Williams, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher.

She also had a tattoo inked behind her ear in memory of the victims who lost their lives and those impacted by the tragedy.

It was reported shortly after the bombing that Ariana, now 28, and her team had gone to a Manchester tattoo parlour to get bee tattoos, as scores of other people also went for similar designs.

On the one-year anniversary of the explosion, the Into You singer shared a picture on her Twitter profile (which has since been deleted) of her bee tattoo.

The delicate bee design was placed behind the singer’s left ear (Picture: Twitter/Ariana Grande)

She put a simple caption to accompany the picture, writing ‘forever’ in commemoration.

What does Ariana Grande’s bee tattoo mean?

The bee has been used as a symbol to represent Manchester for a long time, having first become a significant icon during the Industrial Revolution around the 1800s.

Britain was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution at that time, with several cities in the north playing an essential part.

Many people joined Ariana in getting bee tattoos after the attack (Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

The textile mills in Manchester were regarded as a ‘hive of activity’, as the people who worked there were compared to worker bees.

To represent the strenuous work that workers in Manchester did during that era, the worker bee became a symbol of the city.

To this day, bees feature on the official coat of arms of the city, with the insect seen at the top of the emblem.

The bee seen at the centre of a Manchester City football shirt during the match in Houston, Texas (Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images)

Bees are also featured on the official coat of arms for the University of Manchester, while in July 2017, Manchester United and Manchester City football players wore shirts adorned with the worker bee symbol to pay tribute to the victims of the Manchester bombing for their International Champions Cup derby match.

Bee designs can be spotted in various spots around Manchester, such as on lamposts, dustbins and paving stones.

After the bombing at Ariana’s concert, the bee became a defiant symbol in the face of terrorism.

Fans gathered at Emirates Old Trafford days after the bombing for the One Love Manchester benefit concert (Picture: Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images)

Many people had bees tattooed on them after the blast, with tattoo parlours taking part in the Manchester Tattoo Appeal, which raised money for victims by dishing out bee tattoos.

In late June 2017, it was reported that 10,000 people had received bee tattoos to support the appeal, which had raised £520,000 at that point.

Miley Cyrus was one of the artists who joined Ariana on stage for the star-studded performance (Picture: Dave Hogan/One Love Benefit/Rex/Shutterstock)

In June 2019, two years after the One Love Manchester concert took place, Ariana shared a picture on Instagram of herself on stage at the incredibly powerful event.

‘Two years ago. thanks for teaching me what love is. my heart is with u always,’ she wrote.

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