Couples rush to marry on date of 'lifetime love'
Updated: 2014-01-04 00:45
By HOU LIQIaNG in Beijing and XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai (China Daily)
A tidal wave of romance — and marriage registrations — swept the nation on Friday, as couples couldn't resist the phonetics of love.
Spoken in Chinese, Friday's date, Jan 3, 2014, expressed as 1413, sounds like "love you for a lifetime" (yi sheng yi shi).
It not only added extra significance to tying the knot but caused a rush to marriage registration offices.
As of 4 am on Friday, 309 couples had registered marriages in Beijing's Haidian district.
"Usually, the number is about 100 to 200," said Chen Ru, director of the marriage registration office.
Shanghai's Yangpu district saw a similar pattern an hour and a half before closing time.
"There were more than 60 couples coming to us to tie the knot by 3 pm," Wang Haiyan, director of Yangpu district's marriage office said on Friday.
The normal daily registration number ranges from 20 to 30, Wang said.
Gao Bin, 30, and Dai Wanwei, 26, made an appointment to register a month ago.
"We missed 1314 (Jan 4, 2013) because we were not together yet, but we don't want to miss 1413," Gao said. "It's a special day and we choose to register on the day for luck."
Dai said they chose the day even though both of their parents thought it was a little bit late. The lovers have known each other since March 2013.
Chen Chao and Wan Shanshan, both 30, held a wedding ceremony in October but didn't register.
"We decided to wait for the special date to do the registration," Chen said.
Deng Li, 26, and his wife, Meng Qian, 25, have been in love for four years. "We had considered getting married on Jan 4, 2013, but conditions were not ripe at that time. It's the same to do the registration on Jan 3, 2014," Deng said.
Both dates are good, he added.
In addition to those dates, Jan 1, 2014, was also considered by many as a lucky date to register for marriage because it marks the transition from 2013 to 2014, which, similar to the other dates, sounds like "a lifetime" in Chinese. It translates to "an appointment for a lifetime".
On Jan 1 in Shanghai, 1,330 couples got married, up from 800 couples on the same day in 2013.
While many registered for marriage on the phonetically pleasing dates, officials said they hope the number-mania will cool down.
"Every day is a good day," said Wang, the Shanghai official, adding that it is not advisable to get married on a day simply because it sounds romantic or auspicious.
Wen Yanmei, an official from the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau, said the media should be careful to not mislead young people into getting married just because of lucky harmonics.
"We don't encourage impulsive marriages," Wen said.
Last year, three of the nearly 7,300 couples in Shanghai who got married on Jan 4, 2013, divorced within two weeks after the magical "love you for a lifetime" date, according to Shanghai-based Youth Daily. One of the couples went back to the government office for a divorce after only four days.
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Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou contributed to this story.