BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese couples rushed to get married Tuesday, believing that a marriage that begins on Valentine's Day will be rosy and lasting.
Civil affairs offices in Haidian District, northwestern Beijing, saw 400 couples register for nuptials Tuesday, five times the number the office usually handles in a day, Beijing Times reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said more than 180 couples had arrived at the marriage registration office in Haidian before it opened at 8:00 a.m. Many of the brides were holding a bouquet of red roses and cooing blissfully as they waited in the long queue. Some marriage registration officials had to work until 9:30 last night to process all the applications and issue red-covered marriage certificates -- the official document declaring husband and wife.
Seemingly prepared for the marriage rush, the civil affairs bureau in Haidian district had set up a small exhibitions featuring China's wedding customs in the reception halls of its marriage registration offices to help the waiting couples to kill time.
More than 300 couples tied the knot Tuesday in Chaoyang District in eastern Beijing and the downtown district of Xicheng reported 140 couples came to its office, and in Chongwen 90 couples arrived lined up for marriage registration, reported Wednesday's edition of Beijing News.
Across Beijing, the number of newly wed couples was four times higher than normal, an unidentified civil affairs official was quoted as saying.
In China's largest city Shanghai, 1,720 couples registered to tie the knot Tuesday, compared with 200 couples on an average day, the local English language newspaper Shanghai Daily reported, quoting an official from the marriage management division of the municipal civil affairs bureau.
Valentine's Day has given new impetus to a nationwide marriage rush that started with the Year of the Dog, which is considered bymany to be an auspicious year for weddings.
This year the lunar cycle begins relatively early and lasts fora whole 385 days until Feb. 17, 2007. It's an usually long lunar year that contains two 'lichun' or literally 'beginning spring' a rare phenomenon that has not occurred since 1944.
With two "lichun", this Year of the Dog is especially auspicious to begin a marriage.
Many couples chickened out of their weddings last year, which was particularly short and did not contain a "lichun". Enditem