Chinese couples who wish to get hitched on the opening day of
the Beijing Olympic Games may eventually make it, if they apply in
advance, a Beijing civil affairs official said.
Guo Xusheng, spokesman with the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs
Bureau, refuted rumors that marriage registration offices of the
bureau would close on August 8.
People have been speculating whether the working population in
Beijing, government employees included, will enjoy some days off
during the Olympics to watch the games and to ease the burden on
Beijing's congested roads.
"Couples are free to tie the knot on any weekday, so why not on
August 8?" he said in Beijing on Saturday.
The Chinese traditionally love "eight" (ba) because it sounds
like the word for wealth and fortune (fa).
August 8 is a Friday this year.
Many young couples choose this date to tie the knot, hoping some
of the auspicious "eighth of the eighth" luck would rub off on
Last year, 3,390 couples got hitched on the lucky date, exactly
a year before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Some of them had to wait
outside the marriage registration office for a whole night.
"We've long been prepared for a stampede of newly-wed couples
this year," said Guo. "So we do advise couples to make online
reservations in advance."
The civil affairs bureau opened a website last year to accept
online reservations for marriage registration. It allows applicants
to choose a certain day and a certain time range to wed.
Many Beijing hotels and restaurants are also preparing to share
in the festivity: many offered set menus for wedding receptions
priced at 2,008 yuan (US$280) for a table of 10.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2008)