HEFEI, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Couples across China are rushing to get married shortly after the Year of the Dog starts on Jan. 29 --a year considered by the elderly to be auspicious for weddings.
|A dog-shaped light lantern is seen in Shanghai in this photo taken January 24, 2006. (newsphoto)|
In the coming year of the dog, the lunar cycle begins relatively early and will last for 385 days until Feb. 17, 2007 --a phenomenon that has occurred only 12 times in more than 2,300 years between 221 B.C. and 2100. The last 385-day lunar year was 1944.
As the year is unusually long, it will have 13 months, with an intercalary month between the seventh and eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, as well as two "lichun" -- the auspicious day marking the beginning of spring -- on Feb. 4 of 2006 and 2007 respectively.
"Most elderly people believe a year with two beginnings of spring and an intercalary month is a golden time to tie the knot," said Fei Guangze, general manager of Suren Wedding Service Co. in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province. "As the Chinese proverb goes, double beginnings of spring and 13 months make a perfect year for weddings."
Fei's company provides wedding related products and services ranging from wedding gowns, fancy photo albums and bridal make-ups to luxuriant wedding fleets and witty masters of ceremonies that are among the most popular choices for urban couples to get married.
"We're already fully booked with weddings in February, March, May and October -- some couples made reservations a year in advance," he said.
A community service station of the civil affairs department in Luyang district of downtown Hefei has been receiving more than 20 couples a day for marriage registration since the start of January, about twice the daily average reported in the last 10 months, an official told Xinhua in an interview. "They are all preparing for wedding ceremonies in the year of the dog," he said.
Many other cities have also reported soaring marriage registrations as the year of the dog approaches.
In fact, many couples have been waiting for a year to chicken out the rooster year weddings because they believe the past year, which lasts from Feb. 9, 2005 to Jan. 28, 2006, does not contain "lichun", earning it the dubious distinction of being a "widow year", or unlucky for wedlock.
A similar marriage rush was reported in January 2005, when people scrambled to get hitched in the last days of the year of the monkey.
"Though the 'widow year' is nonsense, the fact that people try to avoid it reflects their strong desire for a happy marriage," Zhang Youde, a sociologist at Shanghai University, told Xinhua.
Many young people, however, believe love should prevail over traditional beliefs. "It doesn't matter to me in which year we get married," said Beijing urban resident Wang Lin. "My girlfriend and I will get married when we feel like it." Enditem