What is a tattoo? While the word has become known for body art made with ink, the true origin of the word comes from the 17th-century tradition of military drummers alerting soldiers that it was time to return to their barracks for the evening. After hearing the call of the drums, the innkeepers would call out “Doe den tap toe!”, meaning “Turn off the taps!” The “tap too” evolved over time, and the word tattoo now refers to a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands. Since 1997, the Virginia International Tattoo has become an annual celebration of patriotism and international goodwill. The area of Norfolk, Virginia welcomes over 800 performers from all over the world in a display of bands, drill teams, massed pipes and drums, Celtic dancers, choirs, and more. It is the largest tattoo in the United States and draws audiences from around the world.