On the eve of the celebration of Valentine’s Day, we decided to make a small article explaining what these locks really mean, which are usually placed on a bridge near a river or sea to demonstrate the love that a couple has and that people who see them, perceive the immense and unbreakable love they have.
But does the lock really mean that much? Well, the story is not very clear. There are legends that say that fashion started in Rome thanks to some lovers, others who was a locksmith and the last one that is based on a book by Federico Mocchia. You will choose your belief.
In the first place is the legend of Rome. It is said that everything began in this century exactly at the Milvio Bridge. The lovers began to place the padlocks on the bridge lantern with their names or a special phrase that will identify them. After that, the fever arrived in Paris, specifically at the Bridge of the Arts and then spread to all other bridges in which the couples evidenced the love they have.
On the other hand, there is another story that may be. And it is that the story tells that the person who started the locksmith’s fashion was a locksmith and that his only goal was to promote his locksmith business by placing a padlock on the bridge. A couple, seeing this, was also given a lock, but with their names and the key was thrown into the river as a sign of the eternal love they preached.
Finally, there is something related to a book. In this case, the story refers to the film “I desire you”, by the Italian writer Federico Mocchia. Some claim that the trend of the locks began when they read a part of the book in which said that a couple sealed their love when he placed a padlock on the bridge near the Tiber River, where, in addition, they threw the key to prevent separation and so his faithful love will endure.
But it seems that putting a padlock as a symbol of eternal love on a bridge was not something that came from the creative mind of Federico Moccia, but that it was inspired by a love poem written in the middle of the 20th century by the poet of Serbian origin Desanka Maksimović entitled ‘Molitva za ljubav’ (Prayer for love) who in turn seems to have been inspired by an old story that occurred in the Serbian population of Vrnjačka Banja during the First World War in which, supposedly, a teacher local and an army officer were promised (the meeting point of their appointments was a local bridge) and he had to go to the front in Greece, where he began a new relationship there, something that made the girl die of heartbreak. For this reason, they tell the chronicles (which seems to have more of an urban tale or legend than real history) young Serbs of the time began to go to the aforementioned bridge and placed locks to catch their lovers and thus not be abandoned (as if a superstitious spell will be treated).
The legends of love are ancestral and never cease to be built. However, the history of the bridge of the Paris padlocks goes back to a recent legend…
It is said that the tradition began in this century, in Rome, at the Milvio Bridge where lovers put padlocks on lampposts. However, he soon arrived in Paris, in the many bridges that the city has. But above all, one of them, when you look in the distance, looks like a large golden rectangle next to the river Sena. The bridge of Paris to which the lovers are going to put the padlocks is called Pasarela Léopold Sédar Senghor (also known as Pasarela de Solferino). It is right in front of the D’Orsay Museum, or the so-called Impressionist Painters Museum.
This way of trying to come and put a padlock on the Pont des Arts, on the Seine River, many of them worked with drawings or with the names of lovers. Once, the couple places the love lock, they throw the key to the river … so that it keeps the promise of love forever in the depths of its waters, and there is no way to undo it.
It is also said that many lovers go further and place next to their locks, fragments of the wedding veils and other objects that identify them. It seems that at the beginning, the unprecedented custom caused controversy in the town hall of the city, but then it has become part not only of the Parisian images but of its imaginary for all the lovers of the world.
But for a time this part is not only the bridges that suffer this aesthetic aggression (in addition to its consequent and serious deterioration) but any sculpture, window, fence, fence or whatever has a crack in which to put the above Padlock has become the object of the superstition of tourists eager to keep alive the flame of eternal love.
The city councils of all those populations (and not only have to travel abroad, in any city or locality, although it is not tourist, we can find these locks) have to spend large economic items that are invested in the work of removing them in addition to fixing the damages caused by the weight of hundreds of metal bolts that cause innumerable damages and put at risk the safety of those who walk there.
And yes, that padlock you put on your last romantic trip, with the desire that your love last for life, very possibly has already been removed. The fate of that bolt with the dozens that accompanied it go to recycling, being melted and giving a second life to the resulting metal.
There are even municipalities that have suffered the collapse of some of the railings of their most mythical bridges, as a result of overweight and endangering the integrity of those who walk there, have launched campaigns asking citizens and, above all, tourists who do not place padlocks and instead of taking a selfie.
Where does the (harmful) fashion of putting a padlock, as a symbol of eternal love, come from on a bridge? For example, one of them is the City Hall of Paris who has launched the campaign ‘love without locks’ (love without padlocks) / locks) and invites to be photographed on its bridges over the river Seine and hang the photos on the networks under the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks because that way that demonstration of love itself will last forever. The motto of the campaign is: ‘Our bridges will not be able to resist so much love. Free them by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks’