Marking lucky day with mass weddings

Thousands of couples in Hong Kong, mainland China and Southeast Asia flocked to tie the knot on Wednesday, seeking good fortune for marriages begun on the century's last repeating date.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively said 696 and 540 couples were scheduled to attend marriage registries, continuing a trend which has seen couples flocking to marry on 11-11-11 and 10-10-10 in both cities.

Twelve couples take part in a wedding ceremony at the Peak in Hong Kong, an event to celebrate getting married on the date of Dec 12, 2012. (Reuters Photo)

The figure is a near-fourfold increase compared to the daily average in the self-governing Chinese city of Hong Kong, and about an eightfold spike for non-Muslim weddings in Singapore, which is three-quarters ethnic Chinese.

Couples also queued to marry in many mainland Chinese cities, on the basis that 12-12-12 sounded like ``Will love-will love-will love'' in Chinese, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

In several Indonesian cities, mothers gave birth early by Caesarian section so their offspring could have a lucky birthdate.

At one of Hong Kong's five marriage registries, hundreds of people crowded the premises to take photos of brides and grooms in full wedding regalia as they congratulated the newlyweds.

``Today's date is very special and we can get married before doomsday as well,'' joked 34-year-old groom Raymond Ip.

Some doomsayers believe Dec 21 will be the date the world ends.

``There won't be a 13-13-13,'' Mr Ip said, adding that he had booked the day half-a-year in advance to secure a spot.

Groom Terance Fung, 29, agreed. ``Today is the last day of the century with the same date numbers, so it is quite special,'' he said.

In Singapore, hundreds of couples and family members trooped in batches to the marriage registry despite pouring rain.

12-12-12 was, however, a less popular day to tie the knot than previous sequential dates.

Hong Kong saw 1,002 weddings on Nov 11, 2011, which signified ``Eternal love'', and 859 weddings on Oct 10, 2010 which represented ``Perfection''.

A couple, left, prepares for solemnization in the cafe at the registry of marriage offices in Singapore on Dec 12, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Singapore had 553 and 724 marriages respectively on the same dates. The all-time high for a single day there was on Feb 14, 1995, when 1,082 couples were married because the western and Chinese Valentine's Day coincided.

Extra staff were deployed at the marriage registry at Changchun, in China's northeastern province of Jilin, where 2,000 couples were expected.

But the office director Wang Zhe played down the significance of so-called lucky dates. 

``Every day is a lucky day to get married and it will be the most unforgettable day of their lives,'' Wang was quoted as saying.

The Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur saw 289 couples taking part in a mass wedding at the Thean Hou Chinese Temple. 

The National Registration Department said another 306 couples were married at two of its offices near the capital, three times the normal number.

At Yogyakarta in Indonesia's Central Java province 12 male sugar cane workers paraded around town in 12 traditional wagons with their brides to mark the day.

Several hospitals in the country's main cities performed more Caesarian sections than normal, because mothers hoped a 12-12-12 birthdate would bring luck to their offspring.

Twelve women, some of Chinese descent, booked in for C-sections weeks in advance at the Bunda private hospital in Jakarta, spokesman Samuel Robert said.

``They said they wanted to give birth today because they consider the date unique and special. As long as the women and their babies are healthy, we are happy to accommodate,'' he said.

Related search: December 12, 2012, wedding, marriage, Hong Kong, Singapore, China

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Writer: AFP
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