In Peru, Government-Approved Mass Weddings Are On The Rise
It's an attempt to encourage marriage -- and the legal and financial benefits that come with it -- in a country where cohabitation has old cultural roots.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Officials in a growing number of cities and towns across Peru are promoting the benefits and virtues of being married by staging collective weddings involving as many as hundreds of couples at once. In one town, San Juan de Miraflores, nearly 170 couples were married by Mayor Adolfo Campos outside his office while relatives watched from bleachers erected nearby. The ceremony came complete with a reception at which couples posed for free photos and were served slices of wedding cake.
What's the Big Idea?
Peru has one of the lowest marriage rates in South America partly because of an old tradition, sirvinacuy, which treats cohabitation as sufficient proof of commitment. However, that's not enough for local governments, which require proof of marriage before enabling partners to benefit from certain legal and economic rights. The upswing in the country's economy also has officials wanting to create "the sort of urban infrastructure that will help everyone in this district have a better quality of life," Campos told the assembled couples at the event. "[E]ach one of you...with your families, are responsible for the infrastructure of your homes."
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