Feature: Kiss competition staged in Serbian town on Valentine's Day

February 15, 2016 11:34 pm 

VRNJACKA BANJA, Serbia, Feb. 15 — Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday at the resort town of Vrnjacka Banja in central Serbia to watch an annual kissing competition.

This year's Valentine's Day is special for young Serbian couple Djordje Bozic and Irena Lonac, who got engaged in the "kiss me" competition and managed to win it afterwards by kissing for 68 minutes.

It is the fourth win for the couple, who were awarded the prize out of some 20 couples as contestants. The competition has been held every year on February 14 in the past eight years in the town known for its spas, some 200 km south of Serbian capital Belgrade.

The small town, which also organizes the Love Fest and music festival in August, has made the "kiss me" competition into a tourist attraction, thanks to the Bridge of Love and a legend associated with it.

According to the legend, a woman living in Vrnjacka Banja died in sorrow after her lover was sent to Greece to fight and fell in love with a Greek woman during World World I. Local girls then began to write both their and their lovers' names on padlocks and lock them on the bridge, after which they throw the keys into the river underneath.

Visitors of the resort town in the past decade symbolically "lock their love" to the old bridge, which is covered with shiny and rusty padlocks with names of young lovers.

According to Ivan Trifunovic, director of the local tourist organization, the Bridge of Love is the place where love has its place all year round.

"We are happy to organize this lovely event and present Vrnjacka Banja this way. We are sending from here a message of love," he said. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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