TAIPEI — A public wedding took place in the Alishan National Scenic Area on Wednesday, with 16 couples from Taiwan and overseas tying the knot under Alishan’s 1,000-year-old Divine Tree. The 16 couples included three from China, one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and 10 from Taiwan. The annual group wedding, now in its seventh year, was considered one of the most important events on Taiwan’s 2013 tourism calendar, an Alishan National Scenic Area Administration official said. Among those participating in the event were a sister and brother from Jiangsu province in China, who married their respective loved ones at the mountain resort. They said they had followed news on the group wedding since last year and applied to be part of the event this year. Another Chinese couple hailed from Jiangxi province.
The couple from Malaysia were both journalists, while the couple from Singapore, who went to the same high school in their home country, met for the first time while studying at the same university in Taiwan. One of the Taiwanese couples, Liu Pang-hau and Lin Hui-ping, were both born on June 6, 1981. Liu said that they were happy to make it into the event after having originally been on the waiting list. Another Taiwanese couple, Chiang Tung-hsien and Huang Lan-ling, took the top spot in an online popularity vote held to drum up interest in Alishan and the group wedding.
Voters were impressed that they had maintained their long distance romance — with the two living a three-hour train ride apart — for the past 10 years. Alishan was the place that Chiang and Huang chose to visit on their first trip together.