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Web China: Young people flock to Tibet to marry

(Xinhua)

17:05, April 17, 2012

NYINGCHI, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Although their courtship began through the decidedly unromantic experience of online dating, Li Yi and her husband Zhang Tao chose to mark their marital union in the most romantic way possible: on a snow-capped mountain among pink peach blossoms.

After meeting on an online dating site and courting each other, Li and Zhang agreed to hold their wedding at a unique and memorable location. To that end, they discovered an organization offering Tibetan wedding ceremonies and sent them an application.

Their ceremony was held on April 12 in Nyingchi prefecture on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a place famous for its mild climate and beautiful landscapes.

In recent years, Nyingchi has attracted many young lovers who wish to marry with traditional Tibetan wedding ceremonies.

"Before I came here, I dreamed about running with my husband in Tibet in my wedding gown. It was a joyful and sweet feeling. I believe that our love will last forever, as we have a wonderful memory in this beautiful place," said Li.

The wedding's location also held significant meaning for Zhang, the grandson of a Buddhist.

"My grandma is a Buddhist. She visited Tibet about 10 years ago and has wished to come again since then. But she's now too old and too weak to come. It meant a lot to me to have my wedding there," said Zhang.

"I have been fascinated by the culture of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism since my childhood. I was extremely pleased that I was picked by the wedding organizers to come here," Zhang said.

Li and Zhang, as well as nine other couples, participated in a group wedding ceremony, wearing traditional ethnic Tibetan clothing under a snowy mountain. The Festival of Peach Blossoms, which was being held in Nyingchi at the time of the ceremony, meant that the scene was decorated with brilliant pink peach blossoms.

Although the picturesque quality of the ceremony was important to the couples, the local culture was equally fascinating.

"The clothing is so different from that of the Han ethnic group, and the ceremonies are also different. They have more ceremonial procedures. It will be the most precious memory of my life," newlywed Li Xuezhi said.

"It was a completely new experience for me. In my hometown, we don't have solemn wedding ceremonies. It's good to share this happy moment with all the other couples," said newlywed Tang Xiaowei.

The local residents of Nyingchi have shared in the joy of many weddings, expressing pleasure with the couples' desire to learn more about their culture and lifestyle.

"They're wearing our traditional belts, bangles and clothes. We have been wearing those for generations and generations. I wish them health and long life, luck and happiness and harmonious families," said Choskyi, a local resident.

The group responsible for organizing the ceremony said it attracted applications from hundreds of couples across the country.

"They were quite zealous, applying by both telephone and e-mail. Over 100 couples from all over China applied in just a couple of days. We are glad to bring them to Nyingchi to hold their wedding ceremony and hope to realize the dreams of more people in the future," said organizer Zhou Yuhua.

Tibet's tourism administrators said the region will promote a series of specialized travel packages this year, including those featuring traditional Tibetan wedding ceremonies.

According to government statistics, 8.7 million tourists from home and abroad visited Tibet in 2011, generating 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenues.

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