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Moscow on the Tar

By Vince Bellis and Lisa Ellison

Photo by Vince Bellis.

“Love lock” at Town Common, photo by Vince Bellis.

Scroll down for new information.

On January 14, Vince Bellis noticed something on a walk along the Town Common promenade: a golden heart-shaped lock with names inscribed. Bellis informed the Guardian, “this is a marriage custom currently in vogue in Russia. Newlyweds pledge their everlasting love by locking a padlock engraved with their first names on the rail of a bridge. They then throw the key into the river so their love can never be unlocked.”

But then, on the 22nd, things didn’t look so good for the couple’s symbolic display of commitment. Bellis reported he’d heard the lock was missing. He contacted the city’s Parks Superintendent and the Parks Facility Manager to see if they knew anything about or were responsible for removing the lock, which he calls “a charming custom, one that adds interest to a visit to the town common.”

On Jan. 23, Bellis confirmed for himself that the lock was indeed missing. Recreation and Parks has not yet responded.

We’d love to hear from anyone who can read the Cyrillic letters.

New information

Thanks to the help of our Facebook fans, we found the owners of the lock and they were willing to share some of their story with us: Yana and Justin Brown were married on October 6, 2013 and placed the locks on the bridge and threw the keys in the river, according to Russian tradition. Yana’s parents attended the wedding and brought the golden lock from Russia. It says, “Loving Hearts.” There is a second silver lock that the Browns got here. They are upset by the missing locks and hope to find out what happened to them.

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One Response

  1. Lynn Caverly says:

    Another example of xenophobia, lack of awareness of other cultural traditions, thinking ours are the best/only that should be followed. Sometimes I really dislike living in such a provincial/clannish environment. What was being harmed by the lock being there? Even if you didn’t get the cultural significance, just leave it alone if it doesn’t concern you. S[haking]M[y]H[ead]

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