- Title: Couples tie the knot in China's chilly mass wedding
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: FAN'S HUSBAND PUTTING RING ON HER FINGER
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 05:32
- Keywords: China ice festival mass wedding winter
- Location: HARBIN CITY, HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA
- City: HARBIN CITY, HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0025XXZNTL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Eighteen couples on Friday (January 6) tied the knot at a mass wedding, braving freezing temperatures in China's northern city of Harbin.
The ceremony, which is held every year during the annual Harbin International Ice Festival, began at 9:38 AM local time (0138 GMT) with couples walking across a red carpet at the festival's main venue, clenching bouquets.
Organisers held the wedding at 9:38 AM rather than 9:30, as number eight is associated with good luck in China.
Couples then recited their vows and shared a kiss in front of a barrage of media and spectators.
"We're from Guangzhou and it doesn't snow over there, and it's not that cold. Coming here, everything around us is a winter wonderland of powder and jade. Originally I saw these words in a book, and now I'm experiencing this in person so now I know exactly what a winter wonderland is. It really is an unforgettable experience holding such a special wedding in such a special place," said Fan Shimin who travelled to Harbin with her husband from the southern city of Guangzhou.
"This is really meaningful because most weddings are in churches, or Chinese style weddings, and they won't resemble an event like this held in an open area with so many people. Viewers from all across the country might be able to witness our love. This is pretty meaningful," added Li Hong from northern Shanxi province.
Most participating couples said they were previously wed in other ceremonies, as this one is only ceremonial.
The 33rd annual Harbin International Ice Festival kicked off on Thursday (January 5).
Organisers say the festival, which is open for 60 days and boasts a variety of snow and ice-related activities, draws several million tourists from across the country and internationally each year.
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