Being American, Valentine’s day was always about roses and chocolates; however, in Europe there are some fun traditions I like even better!
Like LOVE LOCKS! In Europe, there are bridges all over where couples hang padlocks. The padlocks are colorful and have the couple’s names engraved. The key is thrown into the river to symbolize their everlasting love!
The practice started in Serbia at the Most Ljubavi Bridge, or the Bridge of Love, which is now named after the love padlocks! The story is traced back to pre-WWII when men were going off to war. A local schoolgirl named Nada, from Vrnjacka Banja, fell in love with Relja, a Serbian military officer. They used to secretly meet on the Ljubavi Bridge. They fell in love, and then he went off to war in Greece. While he was away he met another woman and broke off his engagement to Nada. She was devastated and eventually died of a broken heart.
Due to this heartbreaking story, all the girls from Vrnjacka Banja started carving their names, and the names of their loved ones, onto padlocks. Then, they would hang their padlocks on this exact bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. This was to protect their own relationships! The padlock is hung to represent how strong their love is. Then, the key is thrown into the river so it can never be unlocked!
These love lock bridges have also caused a lot of controversy because many of the love locks bridges have become too full of locks. Many of the local governments and railways have tried to cut them off and have them removed! In Cologne, Germany, at the Hohenzollern Bridge, the German train company, Dutsche Bahn, tried to have them all removed! The train company was actually worried that there were so many locks that the bridge was becoming too heavy! They were worried that the bridge could possibly collapse under the weight of the train and the locks; however, the people of Cologne went crazy in love and protested the removal of the locks. The train company ultimately gave in! The locks are still hanging, and the numbers are growing by the day!
One great way to include your kids is to have a family love lock made! Engrave all your names on a love lock and go hang it as a family! This is an awesome tradition and can be done in many countries around the world! Think what an amazing story your kids can share about how many love locks your family has around the world!
Have you hung your love lock?
To find your nearest love lock bridge, here is a list of all the love lock locations around the world! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_locations_with_love_padlocks