BEIJING, July 24 -- Shenzhen city has seen a surge in the number of applications for marriage registration Aug. 8, the opening date of the Beijing Olympics, though it is still two weeks away.
In Chinese, the Arabic number 8 sounds like "to make a fortune" and many believe the Olympics will make the weddings more meaningful.
The surge of registrations had forced the marriage registration office in Luohu to increase the quota from 60 couples a day to 90. The online service allows couples to apply two months before their registration dates.
"By June, the quota of 90 couples a day had been reached and we will extend service hours and add more staff to handle the increase of applications for Aug. 8," Li Huanyuan, chief of the marriage registration office of Luohu District, said yesterday.
A woman surnamed Dai was the first to apply for registration in Luohu for Aug. 8.
"We chose Aug. 8, the opening of Beijing Olympics, because it is a commemorative day for both of us and China," said Dai.
Dai and her fiance waited by the computer at midnight of June 7 and successfully registered in the early morning of June 8.
Marriage offices in Nanshan and Futian also reported the same situation. "We have never seen such a boom since we opened the online service," a staff member surnamed Deng of the Nanshan office, said.
The marriage registration Web site of the Shenzhen Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau showed the quotas across the city all had been booked by mid-June.
Many who failed register online turned to the offices in person or applied for another day, Aug. 7, the seventh day of July in the Chinese lunar calendar which is believed to be the Chinese Valentine's Day.
The last rush for marriage registrations was on Sept. 9, 1999. Nine in Chinese means "eternity."
(Source: Shenzhen Daily)