Last year I posted about the love locks I came across in Vilnius. I’ve kept this post much as it is and have left it down below.
This week whilst working at St James Primary School in Caerphilly, I discovered a lovely twist on this tradition, inspired by a Year 6 visit to Paris in 2013.
As a way of remembering all the children that year, each child had a tiny padlock engraved with his or her initials which has been locked onto the school fence. I often talk about the need for children to leave positive legacies of their time in a school and this is an example of such a gesture. I hope as the years go by these former pupils can return and visit their lock and remember their time at primary school.
Whilst in Lithuania I stumbled across a lovely tradition when walking over a bridge in Vilnius. Couples who fall in love bring a padlock to a bridge. It is locked to the bridge. The key is thrown into the river so that no-one can find it and break their bond of love.
When the bride and groom marry, the groom carries the bride across the bridge. The padlock can be a positive reminder of the marriage and the bridge can be revisited by couples who wish to relive their memories of the happy day.
Often the locals are inscribed with both their names, the date they met or the day of their marriage. I did ask about whether the size or type of padlock matters. Apparently it doesn’t. That’s a matter for personal preference.
The tradition does not seem to go back as long as may be suggested by the rusty padlocks in the photo above. The tradition has spread throughout the world. There is now a way marking site which logs where they are found and this link provides some amazing examples from several countries. However many local authorities disapprove of the practice and discourage it for various reasons, as outlined in the Wikipedia page.
I rather like this custom. It is a guerrilla act of love! For classes studying marriage customs as part of their religious and moral education. Bridges are often meeting places and the symbolism of this ritual and the enigma of love provide opportunities for discussion and debate that can enliven any project!