I’ve actually written one draft post about the symbolism used in relation to love (which I haven’t finished writing due to insufficient research), and then I remembered some of the photos I took while on a family vacation to Seoul, South Korea in December 2011. We had visited N Seoul Tower in Namsan (South Mountain), the tallest point in Seoul. There we saw thousands of locks that hung from the fences, because of the custom that if a couple would lock a padlock together in that public space, their love would be “locked forever.” Well, I didn’t have a lock with me, so I couldn’t try that custom, but I think one of my acquaintances did put a padlock there when she visited with her boyfriend.
Me posing with the “tree” covered with love padlocks.
Apparently, some people also took to vandalizing objects in the area and wrote about their love. Since I can’t read Korean hangul, I have no idea on whether those characters are the names of the people who vandalized the binoculars. Yes, it might seem to be romantic to leave behind “evidence” that you’ve been to a certain place to declare eternal love, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to vandalize public property.
That’s my cousin (she can totally pass as a Korean, right?).
A giant metal heart sculpture. Really I’m surprised how they got that big object to stand on such a small base.
I actually find this love padlock custom interesting, because the couples who visit there are holding on to the hope that their love for their partner will last forever. The padlocks represent exactly just that—hope. The sheer number of padlocks to be seen there attest to the wishes and dreams of people who love (if not romantically, then at least for their family and friends), despite the possibility of losing the people they love.