During the 17C and 18C love locks were defined as a lock of hair hanging long and separate from the rest of one’s hair tied with ribbon and normally only worn by courtiers. I have not been able to find out in my research if this was in any way connected with love of a sweetheart or just of their own hair!
In the 21C the term has taken on a completely new meaning as a custom that is spreading all over the world, although believed to have originated in China. I have seen photographs of examples as far afield as Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Uruguay and USA.
Padlocks are no longer just a way of keeping things secure but are now an item that loving couples decorate with their names, initials, messages and so on before attaching them to street furniture such as railings on bridges, fences or lamp posts and throwing away the key. This is a way of symbolising a couples undying love and also thought to bring good luck to the relationship.
Since living in Italy I have come across this symbolism a number of times but before I was writing News From Italy. There was a good example in Viterbo a few years ago, but it disappeared, I assume the structure they were attached to was in danger of collapse under the weight and that the authorities saw fit to remove them.
When we were in Bolsena with friends from the UK for a stroll back in September we came across some Love Locks, they had never seen any before so were fascinated.
I thought it would be interesting to feature them in a post for News From Italy and I look forward to hearing about other examples of this custom that you have seen around the world.
As it happens to be Wednesday and these are outdoor photos I am also participating in Outdoor Wednesday.
Welcome to ‘News From Italy’ to the other participants, thankyou for calling by.