Chinese marriage registration offices to extend hours to accommodate newlyweds on May 20
Young people encouraged to embrace value of family: experts
Published: May 16, 2024 09:20 PM
Marriage Photo: VCG

Marriage Photo: VCG

Marriage registration offices in multiple regions across China have announced plans to extend their working hours to accommodate newlyweds on May 20, which is considered an auspicious date for love and relationships. Experts said that the move is commendable and should be promoted to include more similar festivals, such as the Qixi Festival, which is also referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day, to meet people's needs for registration and to foster a marriage-friendly society.

Many couples choose to register for marriage certificates on the day of "520" due to the homophonic sound of "I love you" in Chinese. As this day approaches, some netizens have found that marriage registration appointments have been made in advance, with some offices already full. Some registration offices said they will also open on-site registration queues and work overtime to accommodate the demand of couples, allowing more couples to tie the knot.

Newlyweds can go to the marriage registration offices to make an appointment for the registration process, said the Civil Affairs Bureau of Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong Province. They will also introduce multiple measures to create a romantic and warm atmosphere for marriage registration ceremonies, including decorating the registration areas and organizing interactive activities for couples on May 20.

In Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, the local civil affairs bureau is implementing a series of initiatives to promote marriage-related measures, including organizing marriage culture fairs and events. "The local marriage registration offices in the city will work overtime to meet the couples' needs. So far, the city has received 530 marriage registration appointments for May 20, and 396 appointments for May 21," a staff member from the Suzhou civil affairs bureau told the Global Times on Thursday.

It's estimated that more newlyweds will come to register on May 20 and 21, as most marriage registration centers allow soon-to-be newlyweds to register on-site, said the member of staff.

Some local civil affairs authorities will carry out collective certificate award ceremonies and provide gift packages to send their best wishes to the newlyweds. 

The marriage registration offices' implementation of demand-oriented supply services is encouraging and deserved of recognition. Many young couples choose to obtain their marriage certificates on May 20, symbolizing "their commitment to love and the recognition of the marriage system," Song Jian, a demographer from the Center for Population and Development Studies of the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The decision of the registration offices to stay open until all registrations are processed, regardless of normal working hours, demonstrates a dedication to meeting the needs of the public, reflecting a people-centered service philosophy, Song said.

In 2023, there were 7.68 million marriages registered in China, an increase of 845,000 couples or 12.4 percent from 2022, according to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs. This was the first rebound in recent years as the number of marriages nationwide has been declining for several consecutive years.

The main group entering marriage are those born in the 1990s, particularly those born after 1995, followed by those born in the 2000s. These groups have a smaller population size compared to those born in the 1970s and 1980s. The decrease in marriage registrations is partly due to the smaller population entering marriage age, Jiang Quanbao, a professor with the Institute for Population and Development Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Marriage is being postponed as some young people focus on personal development. Moreover, "the increasing diversity and inclusivity of society allows people to have more choices," said Jiang.

It is important to promote "the value of marriage and family." Young people should be encouraged to see marriage as a path to personal success and happiness. The local authorities can play a role in promoting the positive aspects of harmonious marriages and dispelling fears surrounding marriage and fertility, Jiang noted.

The relevant authorities have implemented a series of policies aimed at reducing the cost of marriage, as well as lowering the costs associated with childbirth, parenting and education to promote marriage.

China's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference held a consultation session on Saturday to discuss promoting the high-quality development of population to underpin Chinese modernization.