Socks. The word doesn’t conjure up the most romantic of gifts, or even the most well thought out gift at any time of the year, but for a small island in the Atlantic Ocean that has a special relationship with striped socks, this is the complete opposite.
Tristan da Cunha, situated in the south Atlantic Ocean, has a population of around 270 people and is only accessible by a six-day sea voyage from Cape Town. In receipt of supplies shipped only once a month, making this the most remote island in the world. What makes this small volcanic island even more special is their tradition of striped love socks!
In the old days, the community of Tristan were reserved and preferred to show their love through gestures rather than words and so the tradition of love socks was born! When a young man wanted to court a young lady, he would bring her a small gift, and in turn, she would knit him a pair of striped socks to show him how much he meant to her. There were no special meanings given to the stripes on the socks or the colours used, but the modern islanders have distinguished the number of stripes and colours. If you are in receipt of a pair designed with two large stripes only, this is a meaning of fondness. Two large stripes coupled with 6 small stripes is practically a marriage proposal!
If you love truly unique socks and don’t mind delayed delivery times, you can purchase a pair of hand-knitted love socks from these islanders, which includes a certificate of authenticity, but be patient – it will take a few months to get to you.
Striped socks, while not a traditional gift expressing love, can be even more meaningful than a bouquet or box of chocolates. Whether you buy a bespoke pair shipped (literally) from an island archipelago chain in the South Atlantic or a pair of colourful striped socks from Peper Harow, tell the story of the little love island to your significant other and share the love that is socks.