|Couples wearing traditional Chinese costumes. [Sina]|
As one of the most important countries along the Silk Road, the stunning scenery has made Sri Lanka the dream wedding location for many young couples.
On Sunday, a grand mass wedding ceremony with the participation of 50 Chinese couples was held in the capital Colombo as part of the the government's agenda to promote Sri Lanka as an ideal wedding destination.
A groom from China said: "My wife and I fall in love with this beautiful place, and we decided to have our big day here."
The ceremony which was held in the Colombo Municipal Council grounds was attended by Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Petroleum Arjuna Ranatunga and China's Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, the Ministry of Tourism and the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka.
Western Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka, speaking at the ceremony, thanked the couples for choosing Sri Lanka as their wedding destination and said both nations have shared strong and historical ties since ancient times.
"Sri Lanka is very proud to be selected as the destination for these couples to celebrate the most important days of their lives," Ranawaka said.
He added that while this event would also promote Sri Lanka's beauty globally, Sri Lanka itself is undergoing further development with the construction of new hotels and other areas catering especially for tourists.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga told Xinhua that this event would help boost Sri Lanka's tourism.
"We hope through this event, many other couples, from other parts of the world, will select Sri Lanka as their wedding destination," Amaratuga said.
The brides and grooms were dressed in typical Sri Lankan wedding attire, traditional Chinese wedding outfits and gowns and tuxedos.
After the traditional dances, the couples were accompanied into heavily-decorated tents where each couple exchanged rings while a holy thread was also tied on their fingers amidst religious chanting.
Wang Yan, a bride who participated in the mass wedding, said that she had learnt of the event through her friends and she was happy to select Sri Lanka as her wedding destination.
"The people here are very friendly and we have been treated so well. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country," she said.
The couples, on Monday, will be taken on a tour of Yala, Sigiriya and Kandy, which are all popular tourist spots in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has become a popular destination for Chinese tourists with China currently being the second largest market.