Mass weddings were held in several parts of the country on New Year’s Day yesterday, in the belief that the auspicious date, which also marked the beginning of the Republic of China’s (ROC) centennial, will bring good fortune.
In Taipei, more than 500 couples tied the knot, setting a new record in the capital for the number of weddings in a single day — about 12 times more than a regular day — keeping civil affairs offices around the city busy handling marriage registration for newlyweds.
Thirty-six-year-old Fu Chao-ying (傅昭穎) and his wife, 31-year-old Chen Yu (陳瑀), who both work in the US, returned last week to register their marriage in Taipei’s Daan Civil Affairs Office yesterday, saying that getting married while celebrating the ROC’s 100th anniversary would make the big day more meaningful.
“January 1, Year 100 of the ROC is a very special and auspicious day to get married. Besides, as Taiwanese, we must return to Taiwan and get married in our homeland,” Chen said.
Another couple, 30-year-old Hsiao Wei-sheng (蕭維昇) and 28-year-old Lin Ying-ching (林迎錦), also chose to register their marriage yesterday. As Lin is seven months pregnant, the couple will also be eligible for a NT$20,000 childbirth subsidy from the Taipei City Government when the baby is born.
The subsidy program, which is aimed at boosting the city’s birth rate, took effect yesterday. Couples who have lived in the city for more than a year will be offered an incentive of NT$20,000 for each newborn child, provided at least one of the parents has recognized household registration in the city.
The campaign also offers a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 to families with children under the age of five years, providing both parents are registered Taipei City residents who have lived in the city for more than a year and are in an income tax bracket that places them in the bottom 20 percent of income earners.
Welcoming the newlyweds at the civil affairs office, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promoted the city’s subsidy program and said the city government would consider increasing the subsidies if the city’s finances allowed.
There were also an increased number of newborns in hospitals around Taipei City yesterday, with many pregnant women choosing to give birth on New Year’s Day.
Taipei resident Tsai Ching-fang (蔡靜芳), who was originally due to give birth on Jan. 9, gave birth to a girl at 12:02am yesterday at Taipei City Hospital’s Hoping branch, saying her baby was the best gift for the New Year.
“I’m very excited and thankful to have a centennial baby,” she said.
Lin Chen-li (林陳立), medical director of the hospital, said the number of newborns at the hospital was 20 percent to 30 percent higher than the number on a regular day.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
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