Love knows no age: 16-year-old boy marries 71-year-old sweetheart

  • Elders in Indonesia village agreed after couple's suicide threats
  • Photos and videos of the special wedding gone viral on social media

JAKARTA – A teen boy from South Sumatra, Indonesia, recently married his septuagenarian sweetheart after they managed to convince their families to bless the ‘bizarre bond’.

Selamat Riayadi, 16, and 71-year-old Rohaya are apparently so in love with each other that they threatened to take their own lives if their families didn’t give their blessing for the controversial union. It’s however unclear how and when Selamat and Rohaya fell in love.

The odd pair tied the knot on Saturday, during a wedding ceremony held at the house of their village chief, in Karangendah Village, South Sumatra, the Indonesian newspaper Detik reported.

The wedding was held at night, to keep the number of visitors to an acceptable number, because their controversial love story had already attracted an unmanageable number of visitors from neighbouring villages. Even so, hundreds of people attended the special wedding.

The two lovebirds, with a 55-year age gap, fought for their love but it was not easy. While Selamat somehow managed to convince his parents to give him their blessing and even attend the ceremony, Rohaya had a more difficult time getting her family to approve. She was a widow who had already been married twice and had a 19-year-old son, so her 75-year-old brother – her closest living relative – feared that the marriage would shame their family.

As the families shared concerns, the two lovebirds went to their local leader together, and threatened to take their own lives if a solution to get them married was not found. “One way or another, we will be together,” they said.

In the end, everyone agreed.

Photos and videos of the unusual wedding have been doing the rounds on Indonesian social media and online news sites since Saturday, but some people still can’t believe the event actually took place.

Selamat reportedly gave Rohaya’s family a dowry of a mere Rp 200,000 ($15). The groom has moved into Rohaya’s house, and they are both over the moon after getting married.

The official minimum age of marriage in Indonesia is 16 for girls and 19 for boys, but there is also a thing called nikah siri, which, according to Coconuts Jakarta, is “a type of marriage that follows religious norms but is not recognized by the state.”

The practice is apparently not considered a violation of the law and is practiced throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

This is second such wedding in the largest Muslim population. In February this year, 28-year old Sofian Loho Dandel and 82-year-old Martha shocked the world by exchanging vows in Indonesia.