BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A district of the Romanian capital on Monday celebrated hundreds of couples who have been married for at least half a century by handing out cash awards and inviting them to a joint lunch.
Bucharest's fifth district town hall says it has given each golden anniversary couple 1,000 lei ($255) to honor family and marriage.
Some 600 people participated in the festive three-course lunch and dance, held in a ballroom. Red balloons decked the room, women were handed red roses and a live band played traditional romantic Romanian songs.
One couple took a joint selfie, and another couple walked out of the ballroom together complaining the music was too loud.
Organizer Florentina Popescu said the longest marriage in the district had lasted 66 years. "They are an example for all of us what marriage means," she said.
One of the participants was Silvia Agapi, 72, who has been married for 52½ years.
"We started from the idea that we wanted to do everything possible to make the other person happy," she said. "We wanted to stay together all our lives."
She added that she was disappointed that divorce had become commonplace.
Octogenarians Dumitru and Floare Caldararu, who have been married for 55 years, said "mutual understanding," was necessary for a successful marriage, adding divorce had become "a fashion."
Some critics speculated the celebration was held for electoral reasons ahead of Romania's parliamentary election in December.