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S. Korea celebrates married couple's day on May 21st Updated: 2019-05-21 19:24:01 KST

In South Korea, the twenty first of May is known as married couple's day.
It goes back into 1995 when a couple who were both pastors began a movement to make it an official observance to remind married couples of their value to each other and their role in creating happy families.
After years of effort, the day was finally designated by the legislature, just not as a holiday, in 2007.

"But with the recent increase in societal problems such as unemployment, rising household prices and an aging population… the number of people who can actually celebrate the day has been on the decline.”

Last year, according to Statistics Korea, the nation's crude marriage rate, which refers to the annual number of marriages per 1,000 people… dipped to a record low of 5 -- down to almost half the number when data was first compiled in 1970.
Data also showed that the total number of new marriages last year fell to around 257,600, down 2.6 percent from the year before.
People are getting married later, too. The average age of a first marriage rose by 0.2 years each to 33.2 years old for men and 30.4 for women.

A wedding planner says she's seen weddings becoming more cost-efficient.

"I've been working in this industry for 10 years and things have changed a lot.
Unlike before, most couples are in their 30's and 40's and many of them try to skip most of the extravagant expenses and formalities and try to focus more on what they think is important."

On the other hand, Korea is seeing its divorce rate rise day by day.
Last year, a total of 108,700 couples decided to part ways, up 2.5 percent on-year.
One third of them had been together for more than 20 years.
An expert says this is because of greater social burdens but also a more open-minded culture.

"Basically, divorce and just not marrying have become more culturally acceptable, so people are thinking more individualistically.
More importantly, young people having trouble making a living has made them hestitant not only to marry but to date."

The expert said that government financial support for newlyweds and families could help in the short term, but what's needed in the long term is a deeper understanding of marriage and its importance to one's self and society.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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