In Karangendah, a village in western South Sumatra Province, Indonesia, 16-year-old Selamat Riayad held a wedding with 71-year-old Rohaya. Previously, their marriage was blocked by the local community, but the couple said that if they could not get married, they would die together.
According to local tradition, since the bride has been widowed twice, their wedding requires the consent of the groom’s parents. The newlyweds expressed that their love for each other was so strong that if they couldn’t be together, they would die together. After a brief period of initial skepticism, the man’s parents approved of their marriage.
In Indonesia, the legal minimum age for marriage for men is 19, but due to a loophole in the law, any religiously sanctioned marriage is recognized. The traditional Muslim wedding of this Muslim couple was recognized by society, but not by the state. Because Muslims do not have exact regulations on the age of marriage, as long as both spouses are mature, they can get married.
Video from the wedding scene showed that when they were announced as husband and wife, the young groom excitedly buried his face in his hands, while his new wife sat quietly beside him. The wedding guests also started cheering and were happy for them.
Videos and photos of the wedding later circulated online, with many Indonesians questioning whether their marriage was real. An Indonesian media conducted an interview with the head of the family, who confirmed the authenticity of their marriage and the fact that they would die in love if they were prevented.
People did not believe that their marriage was for financial purposes because both parties were equally poor. It is reported that the man’s family only gave the woman’s family a bride price of 11.5 pounds.