In Mandarin the date January 4, 2013 sounds similar to "I will love you all my life". This leads many couples to think that marrying on this date will give them a lasting relationship.
Thousands of couples were queued at registry offices throughout China on Friday. In Beijing alone at least 10,000 were booked to get married but many others showed up without an appointment. This rush is not unprecedented. On December 12 last year, a similar rush took place. The repeating numbers 12/12/12 are considered quite lucky by the Chinese and they hope that their marriage on that date will also be lucky. The date was this century's last repeating date.
Extra government staff were needed to deal with the influx of couples. Today is nicknamed "love you forever day" and again couples were packing civil affairs offices throughout China. Businesses that cater to weddings are having a stellar day. In Hong Kong the marriage registries were booked up for this day back on September 20th last year. In all, 558 marriages were booked.
More than 10 million weddings occur in China every year, creating a multi-billion-dollar business. Weddings are becoming increasingly expensive and costs often spiral out of control. There are financial advisors who make a living guiding couples through the process and helping control costs.
Lucky numbers play a significant role in Chinese culture. The number 8 in Chinese sounds like prosperity. The Beijing Olympics started on the 8th day of the 8th month in 2008. Again, many Chinese took that day as an auspicious one to get married. Four is an unlucky number. As a result, some high-rise buildings do not have the fourth floor listed as such nor a fourteenth floor either.