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2020-01-19 05:02:04

Local authorities in several Chinese cities will work overtime to accommodate couples hoping to get married on Feb. 2, a date some believe to be auspicious because it forms a palindrome when written out sequentially: 20200202.

Beijing’s civil affairs bureau said Friday that local marriage registration offices will be open for business on the upcoming Sunday. More than a dozen such offices in Shanghai will also remain open the same day, according to media reports.

When repeated together, the Mandarin words for “two” and “zero” sound similar to the phrase “love you.” The Sunday is also the ninth day of the lunar calendar, with “nine” being phonetically similar to “long” — leading some to believe that the date may guarantee a long-lasting marriage.

But some authorities are apparently disinclined to indulge such superstition. “A happy marriage has nothing to do with the auspicious day,” a senior official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Sunday. “As long as the relationship between two people is harmonious, each day is good and unique. I hope applicants will treat their wedding dates rationally.”

In 2018, China’s marriage rate fell to its lowest point in five years. On Friday, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that last year’s birth rate of just 10.5 newborns per 1,000 people was the lowest in the country’s 70-year history. (Image: Tuchong)