Indonesia hosts mass wedding on New Year's Eve

  • 01/01/2018

Hundreds of Indonesian couples celebrated New Year's Eve by tying the knot in a mass wedding in the capital Jakarta.

Nearly 450 couples gathered in a large tent in the city centre just hours before midnight on Sunday to pray with their families before signing marriage certificates. Government officials oversaw each brief ceremony.

East Javanese bride Ms Hartiningish says she wanted an "unforgettable" experience.

"We're so happy that we decided to participate today," she said, while a live band played a set of traditional and pop music in the background.

Her husband, Ricky Rangga, 30, said the couple was grateful to the city administration for making the wedding possible.

Many couples wore matching colours and traditional Indonesian outfits, with some brides donning elaborate headdresses and grooms carrying traditional daggers called keris.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan congratulated those taking the plunge and said the city would now host the event every New Year's Eve. The city government raised donation funds to pay for token gold dowries for the couples to exchange.

Grooms in Indonesia traditionally present gold jewellery or money to brides on the wedding day.

"We're planning to do this every year," said Mr Baswedan, after posing for photographs with some couples.

Security was tight around the event's venue in the heart of the city, which took place just a few metres from the site of a militant attack in January 2016, when Islamic State-linked radicals killed four people using guns and bombs.

Tens of thousands of police and military personnel have been deployed in Jakarta and across the country to safeguard holiday celebrations as the country remains on high alert.