Patrick Fung in Beijing brings us a unique cultural perspective as to why so many Chinese brides and grooms are marching down the aisle this Friday:
With only one day until the Olympics, the entire country is filled with excitement. The Beijing Metropolitan Government has given people a one-day Olympic leave on August 8 in order to reduce traffic. Some people will use this opportunity to enjoy the opening ceremonies or celebrate such a historic moment.
For others, this will be the happiest day of their lives; millions of new couples will get married August 8, 2008!
Chinese people consider number eight as a lucky number, because in a particular part of the country, the pronunciation of number eight is quite similar to that of fortune in the local accent. People like to start business or to marry on a day that the date contains at least one number eight, with a good wish of being rich!
Similarly, China decided to open the Olympic Games on 08. 08. 08, when three single eights meet together! China has made a wonderful economic achievement in past over two decades. It hopes that the Olympic Games will showcase this great progress to the world, and that the country will be richer and richer after this international event.
The more than 16,400 couples who are ready to get married are not only very excited for the upcoming Olympics, the realization of this country’s one-century dream, they're also very excited for the date itself. To wait for another 08-08-08, they'd have to wait another 1,000 years. It's just too late to marry.
On the day when the Olympics start, athletes and media will not be the only people running around; marriage registration officers all over the county will have to work a long day too. They are already prepared to meet thousands of happy faces and to wish them a happy life.
With so much pressure for new applications, many marriage registration offices have announced that they will not accept or hear any divorce cases. Maybe the Olympics could be a marital turning point for some couples thinking about divorce? You never know.