Each year descendants of Chang and Eng Bunker meet in Mount Airy, North Carolina, for a reunion. This year’s event – the 22nd annual Bunker Reunion Weekend – took place last month and marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the conjoined twins whose condition and birthplace gave rise to the term “Siamese twins”.
The Bunkers were born on a houseboat on the Mae Klong River, near Bangkok on May 11, 1811 to a Chinese father and a half-Chinese, half-Siamese mother.
They were discovered in 1829 by Scottish merchant Robert Hunter and his associate, American sea captain Abel Coffin, who took them abroad and exhibited them as curiosities.
Chang and Eng ended up staying in America, becoming the first Asians to gain US citizenship, and in the 1830s traveled with the famous showman P.T. Barnum. The twins later met and married sisters and moved to Mount Airy to bring up their respective families. Eng had 11 children with his wife and Chang had 10 children with his.
Around 200 people turned up for this year’s Bunker Reunion, according to the Mount Airy News.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, the annual Sligo Twins Festival takes place this coming weekend. This year the guests of honour will be former conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf from county Cork.
Back in the US, Hollywood actor Mel Gibson and his ex-wife were briefly reunited earlier this month at an event in California to celebrate the tenth birthday of Guatemalan separated conjoined twins Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej-Alvarez.