Hong Kong and Singapore see 12/12/12 wedding boom
Couples from Hong Kong and Singapore are flocking to tie the knot on 12/12/12, sparking a wedding boom on the century's last repeating date seen as auspicious by some to guarantee a happy marriage.
Dates like 10/10/10 or 11/11/11 have traditionally seen couples from the two places rush to get married, with registrations set to surge on December 12 this year, which is viewed as signifying "love".
Hong Kong's marriage registry said it has received 696 notifications from couples planning to get married on Wednesday, nearly four times the daily average of 177 registrations in October, according to a spokesman.
In Singapore, which is three-fourths ethnic Chinese, 540 couples have applied to be married Wednesday, statistics from the Registry of Marriages website showed -- an eight-fold increase in the daily average for non-Muslim weddings compared to a year earlier.
Muslim weddings are recorded separately.
A wedding planner in Singapore said the date will be one of the busiest of the year for marriage-linked businesses.
"It is a hot date," said Renee Leung, founder and chief executive officer of marriage planning firm The Wedding Butler, adding that her company was handling 20 weddings on the day itself, up from the usual one or two per day.
"It's just an auspicious calendar number... a lot of people say its an easy number to remember," she told AFP.
The 12/12/12 registrations however have shrunk in both places compared to previous sequential dates.
Hong Kong saw 1,002 weddings on November 11 last year, which signified "eternal love", and 859 weddings on October 10, 2010 which represented "perfection".
Singapore had 553 and 724 marriages on the same dates, but the all-time high for a single day was recorded on February 14, 1995, when 1,082 couples were married because the western and Chinese Valentine's Day coincided.
The falling number this year may be partly due to the feng shui factor, as feng shui master Sammy Au told Hong Kong's The Standard newspaper that the triple 12 date is not perfect for marriage and rated it as just a "comparatively lucky day".
Au picked December 18 and 31 as better dates.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese belief that seeks to channel good and bad psychic energy through the arrangement of furniture and ornaments. It also determines auspicious dates.
There were no reports of similar increases in mainland China and Taiwan.
Couples who nevertheless plumped for 12/12 said their main reason was to tie the knot before December 21, which some doomsayers believe could be the date the world ends.
"I want to be with her before the end of the world," a groom-to-be who was only identified as Leung told Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper.
Other Internet doomsayers have picked 12/12/12 as the date for the world's end -- further complicating marriage plans for the superstitious.