Taiwan couples on cloud nine after auspicious 9-9-9-9-9-9 nuptials

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — One hundred sixty-three couples in Taiwan were married in a mass ceremony at 9:09 a.m. on the ninth day of the ninth month of the 99th year since the founding of their republic.

The word for nine in Chinese sounds exactly like the word for longevity, so there was method in the decision by Taipei city authorities to organize the nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine nuptials when they did.

Taipei Mayor Hau Long-bin, naturally dressed to the nines, was all smiles during Thursday's event, going the whole nine yards to make everyone feel the true weight of the occasion.

"I congratulate all the couples," he said.

Groom Ryan Chen said participating in the ceremony to tie the knot with bride Chang Ya-chi was a no-brainer.

"I was born on September 9, and my wife was born on the same date in the lunar calendar," he said. "So by picking this date we hope our marriage will last forever."

As the clock struck the magic hour, couples placed rings on each other's fingers and kissed demurely, their eyes glazing over with — what else — cloud nine expressions.