Local couples queue up to wed on Chinese Valentine's Day

Hu Min Ma Lixia
The Qixi Festival on Wednesday sees a surge of young people eager to take their marriage vows in the city on such an auspicious day. 
Hu Min Ma Lixia
Local couples queue up to wed on Chinese Valentine's Day
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A couple wearing hanfu pose for photographs at the Jing'an District marriage registration center. 

A total of 731 couples got married in the city on Wednesday’s Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day.

The Pudong New Area marriage registration center was the busiest with 156 couples, followed by Minhang (56) and Jinshan (33) districts, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

The total, including two cross-border marriages, was about double the normal working day average.

A registration center in Jing'an District provided a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony for new couples, including wearing Han-style clothing and drinking jiaobei wine (nuptial cups).

"We provided Han-style clothes and props for new couples, and they each can also get a free photo shot here right away," said emcee Chen Wenjia.

"We received more than 30 appointments on the Internet to take part in the ceremony," said Liu Jin, the centre’s deputy director. "The number of people drawing the certificates today is four times that of usual," she said.

Yuan Liangcai and Tu Zhengdong said they made their appointment a month ago.

"Though we have known each other for only half a year, we love each other and want to tie the knot today," they said. "It's an auspicious day and easy to remember."

Chen Wenyi and Ma Kexin, who have been together for three years, also experienced the traditional ceremony, saying it was a meaningful and memorable day for both of them.

Center officials said such activities helped promote traditional Chinese culture and the inheritance of family culture.

"Actually, new couples have many alternative days, and recently more people are willing to tie the knot on the traditional festival compared with Valentine's Day," said Liu.

"So we meet their need and create the atmosphere," she said.

Yangpu District marriage registration center had 45 couples exchanging vows on Wednesday.

"The figure is slightly more than normal working day. The traditional love festival of China has its allure for Chinese lovebirds," said Guo Tingting, an official at the center.

A total of 1,187 couples tied the knot in Shanghai on the festival last year, August 17.

Apart from Qixi Festival and Valentine's Day, there are other auspicious days favored by Chinese couples for making vows.

Registration centers across Shanghai had a surge of lovebirds on May 20, or 5-20 — which sounds similar to wo ai ni, or "I love you," in Chinese.

A total of 2,697 couples said "I do" at centers across the city on the day this year, even surpassing the figure of 2,273 on Valentine's Day the same year.

On another auspicious date, October 10, 2010, local authorities registered marriages of 10,150 couples, a record high.

In Chinese tradition, 10-10-10 symbolizes perfection.

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

Local couples queue up to wed on Chinese Valentine's Day
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A couple wearing hanfu read vows at the Jing'an District marriage registration center. 

Local couples queue up to wed on Chinese Valentine's Day
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A couple drink jiaobei wine (nuptial cups) as part of a traditional marriage ceremony. 

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