Q: Dear Uncle Wang,
On December 12 (12/12/12) marriage registration centers across China carried out the largest number of marriages of any single day this year.
Why do Chinese believe this date to be auspicious and what other dates are considered to be lucky in the coming year?
A: Many Chinese people believe that choosing a "lucky" date for their wedding day will bring them lifelong happiness, wealth and harmony.
The tradition of choosing a lucky wedding date is so ensconced in Chinese culture that in order to obtain good luck or avoid bad luck, they will either rush through their wedding or, alternatively, postpone it.
Often these lucky dates are chosen for couples by fortunetellers. And to alight on a fortuitous date, the fortunetellers will take factors into account such as the bride and groom's names, their dates of birth, and details about the phases of the moon and the oceans' tides.
The most basic facts about Chinese dates is that eights are considered lucky and fours are considered unlucky. In Chinese, the pronunciation of eight is a homonym for "getting rich." Also, the numeral eight in China is a symbol of infinity and is said to bring a couple "eternal love."
Four is an unlucky number because the pronunciation of the word in Chinese is a homonym for the word "death." Also, the seventh month of the lunar year is usually avoided when it comes to getting married, because this is the month of the Ghost Festival and is considered unlucky because of its obvious associations.
Other lucky numbers include 28, which symbolizes double prosperity.
And the date, 12/12/12, will also be this century's last recurring date of its kind and many Chinese see this as particularly auspicious, and as an extra guarantee of a happy marriage. The pronunciation of the date in Chinese sounds like "want love, want love, want love."
On 12/12/12, not only were wedding registration centers fully booked up, but many pregnant women had booked themselves in for Caesarean sections in order to give their newborns that extra lucky start in life.
And 12/12/12 is one of the number combinations that is said to bring good luck and fortune. In previous years, 11/11/11 signified "eternal love," and 10/10/10 signified "perfection."
The Year of the Snake, which starts on February 10, 2013, is said to be the year of prosperity; however it is thought not to be a very lucky year for marriage. It is known as the "widow's year" in that men who are foolish enough to get hitched, could be risking a premature death.
The next marriage registration boom day is expected to occur on January 4, 2013, which in Chinese sounds like "love you eternally."
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