For many couples their wedding day marks the beginning of a long journey, filled with life’s ups and downs. It can also be an expensive one-day event. Now, some couples in China who couldn’t afford their dream wedding are getting a second chance to celebrate.
CGTN’s Jenny Cortes Ybañez reports.
More and more Chinese couples over the age of 70 are re-celebrating their unions, renewing their vows and having the party they wished they had the first time.
Zhuge Junhong and Yu Manpo are one of a hundred couples who got re-married last October, at an event hosted by the retirement home they belong to. They marked their diamond anniversary in style, and literally had the red carpet rolled out for them.
The affair was definitely a far cry from their first wedding day in 1953, organized by the Russians who were living in their small town in Guangdong as foreign aids.
“It was a different time,” Yu explained. “By Russian tradition, each one of them brought us a bottle of wine to congratulate us.”
“We didn’t have any fancy dresses,” Zhuge said. “We just found some clean casual wear. It was just a small gathering of friends and colleagues, and our leader gave a speech which officiated the marriage.”
They appreciate the ceremony, even if there were a few awkward moments. A conservative people – unlike today’s young people, the couple pointed out – they kissed only as a “polite gesture” when the Russians asked.
Zhuge and Yu lived in a time where there were no phones or photographers, so no official photos or videos were taken of them on their big day.
“After the wedding, we were separated,” Yu said. “He was in Hainan Island, and I was in Zhanjiang. We could only meet once every two weeks. The wait was so hard.”
Her husband had to cross the Qiongzhou Strait each time they wanted to meet. At times, the waves were big enough to capsize his boat.
When it came time to part once again, the couple would say goodbye as if it was the last time they ever would.
Now, they get a chance to reaffirm their love for each other, and leave behind physical reminders in addition to their stories.
“We have pictures to commemorate our love, and we can show them to our kids and grandkids, and tell them, even though we are old, we are still pretty.”
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