More than 100 couples linked to Burma’s ethnic Wa armed group got married on Thursday at a mass wedding ceremony in Mong Ton Township, Shan State.
In a sea of red decorations, 112 grooms and 112 brides took nuptial vows and tied the knot in the largest marriage celebration seen in Wa territory for two years.
The vast majority of the grooms were young members of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the largest ethnic armed group in Burma, which has a fighting strength said to number upwards of 30,000 soldiers. Closely allied to China, the UWSA controls a secretive statelet the size of Belgium in the remote hills on Burma’s eastern border.
The wedding ceremony and reception were organised and hosted by the UWSA, and held at Hway Aw village hall in Mong Ton Township.
“Many of our soldiers have difficulty covering the costs of a wedding, so we [UWSA] hosted a mass wedding and reception for them,” said Nyi Kat, deputy political officer of the UWSA chapter in Mong Ton.
UWSA soldiers of different ethnicities, including Wa, Lahu, Shan and Chinese, participated in the ceremony.
This is the fourth mass wedding held in the Wa autonomous region in recent times. The last collective ceremony took place in 2016 when more than 300 couples tied the knot.