A centenarian couple in China have been the living example of the wedding vow ‘to have and to hold’.
This touching image captures the heart-warming moment Xu Liangquan, 100, held the hand of his wife Shao Xiuying, 101, to thank her for spending eight decades with him through thickness and thin, war and peace, joy and sorrow.
The pair of great-great-parents, who tied the knot in the winter of 1937, are still happily married after supporting each other through extremely difficult times including war, famine and political upheaval.
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A centenarian couple in China hold hands as they celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary
Xu Liangquan (left), 100, and Shao Xiuying (right), 101, are pictured during the low-key event
Mr Xu, a war veteran and former teacher, and Ms Shao got married in the winter of 1937
Mr Xu and Ms Shao celebrated their 80th anniversary, or the ‘oak’ wedding anniversary, last month in their home city Rugao in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, according to a report on People’s Daily Online.
The ceremony was held on January 16 – a month after the couple’s actual wedding anniversary – and remained low-key.
The couple kept their fingers interlocked when they were each given a medal and red scarf to celebrate their incredibly lengthy marital life. A video of the ceremony by People’s Daily captured the moving scenes.
Mr Xu and Ms Shao, who have two sons and two daughters, are both in good health. They now spend every day together peacefully, stated.the report.
They eat breakfast and read newspaper together in the morning and play card games with their neighbours in the afternoon.
Their ordinary – yet extraordinary – love story has moved the press and public around China. The Military Newspaper in China commented ‘this is love’ as they featured the couple’s wedding anniversary last month.
Mr Xu and his wife have two sons and two daughter and they are both in good health
They spend every morning reading newspaper and every afternoon playing card games
The picture shows the long-living couple celebrating their wedding anniversary in 1986
Apparently, the long-living husband and wife are well-known and well-respected in Rugao.
As stated by information provided by the Rugao news authority, Mr Xu was born in November, 1917 as one of five siblings. He and his brother were sent to study in a school set up by Westerners and were later trained at a local teachers’ colleague.
After the Second Sino-Japanese War – a part of WWII – began in 1937, a 20-year-old Mr Xu devoted himself to fighting the Japanese invaders. He joined the Communist army and helped collect military intelligence from the Japanese troops posing as a primary school teacher.
After the founding of Communist China in 1949, Mr Xu worked as a cultural assistant as well as a supervisor in a secondary school. He retired in 1979 at the age of 68.
His wife, Ms Shao, was born in March, 1916, as one of three sisters. She was well educated and could write calligraphy.
Ms Shao got married with Mr Xu in December, 1937, after being introduced to him by friends. While her husband was helping fight the Japanese army, she spent most of their early marriage life hiding from Japanese soldiers in the day and from local robbers at night.
She has been a dedicated housewife throughout her life, looking after her husband and raising their four children.
They were each given a medal and red scarf to celebrate their ‘oak’ wedding anniversary
Mr Xu and Ms Shao (middle, second row from the bottom) are pictured with their children and grandchildren to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary in the winter of 1986
Together, the couple lived through WWII in the 1940s, the Great Chinese Famine in the 1950s and the turbulent Communist Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Great Chinese Famine, the worst famine in contemporary history, saw up to 45 million people starved to death between 1958 and 1962 at a time of peace. It’s stated.that Mr Xu and Ms Shao not only supported each other through four barren years, but also gave their own rice to neighbours in need.
While during the ruthless Chinese political movement known as the Cultural Revolution, anyone in China who was ‘educated’ could be accused, publicly shamed or even jailed.
The couple were also wronged, but they put their heads down and lived through the social unrest.
Mr Xu stated.he was grateful for his wife’s life-time companionship.
Together, the couple lived through war, the Great Chinese Famine and the Cultural Revolution
In his auto-biography published in 2000, Mr Xu called his wife ‘the pillar’ of their family. In a chapter dedicated to his wife, the man wrote that his wife had been by his side no matter what.
He wrote: ‘Without her strong will, I would not be enjoying my retirement so happily today.’
The couple’s friends and neighbours have been curious about their secrets to longevity.
The copule told a reporter from the Rugao Propaganda Bureau that they have the habit of walking in the farmland twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
Apparently, they like exercising and avoid sitting still for a long period of time.
In addition, the couple like eating sweets, porridge and potatoes.
The couple concluded that five things had help them live beyond 100 years: their home, partner, children, savings and old friends.