An auspicious date, May 20 wedding registration almost completely booked across Shanghai

Hu Min
May 20 has become a popular date to get married in China, with the actual date "5-20" sounding similar to the Chinese phrase "wo ai ni," which means "I love you."
Hu Min

Say "I do" on May 20. Wait! There's almost no spaces left for marriage registration that day, at any registration center across Shanghai.

520, short for May 20, has become a popular day for Chinese lovebirds to tie the knot. It's in part because it sounds similar to the Chinese phrase "wo ai ni," which means "I love you."

Reservations opened one month prior to the date, and almost every space has been fully reserved across Shanghai.

This year's May 20 falls on Saturday, which boosted the popularity of the date.

"We received reservations from over 100 couples for that day," said a staffer at the Yangpu District Marriage Registration Center. "It marked a significant increase from regular days."

The Songjiang District Marriage Registration Center has kept 80 slots for the day, which have been fully secured.

"Other dates such as May 18 are also popular," a staffer with the Jing'an District Marriage Registration Center said. "From now on, it's our busiest time of the year."

Marriage registration centers said registration services are still available for those failing to secure a slot on the day, but they might need to wait a long time.

"Every space online has been reserved, and we keep receiving a lot of inquiries from those who didn't get a slot," said a staffer with the Minhang District Marriage Registration Center.

"They may have to wait a long time if they directly visit the center without a reservation, and it's not guaranteed that they'll be able to receive a certificate on the day. So we suggest they pick another date," the staffer added.

Getting married on an auspicious date is a long-standing tradition in Chinese culture.

On February 22, 2022, a total of 2,878 couples tied the knot across the city, far exceeding the 857 couples during that year's Valentine's Day.

In Chinese, 2 sounds "love," making February 22, 2022, an extremely popular date to exchange vows.

A total of 2,567 couples tied the knot in the city on May 20, 2020, as "May 20, 2020" sounds similar to "ai ni ai ni wo ai ni" in Chinese, or "love you, love you, I love you."

On January 4, 2013, nearly 7,300 couples in the city said "I do" because the date sounds like "forever love" in Chinese.

On another auspicious date, October 10, 2010, local authorities registered marriages of 10,150 couples, a record high. In Chinese tradition, the number 10-10-10 symbolizes perfection.

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