Marriage registry offices across China are reported to have been flooded with visitors on 20 May as young couples rushed to tie the knot on the day which symbolises love and romance, a special meaning that was earned in China as the date’s Chinese pronunciation is a homophone of ‘I love you’ in the language.
The estimated number of couples wanting to be registered in the Southeastern coastal province of Guangdong is believed to be more than 9 times as many as the average recorded on ordinary days, according to Nandu Big Data Institute. Services in all 11 districts in the provincial capital city of Guangzhou and its neighbouring city Shenzhen were running at full capacity on the day, with young lovers queueing up including some who had camped outside overnight to secure an early spot.
Offices in other areas including Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, and Sanya made online bookings available weeks before the peak along with a pre-warning of “high service demand” and suggested following the principle of a “phased register”.
While working around the clock to keep queues moving, extra services were also provided by registered offices in some cities, such as group wedding celebrations and certificate issuing ceremonies in Han costumes (clothing worn by people in China’s Han dynasty 202 BC – 220 AD).
The department in China’s historic city of Xi’an which is also the capital of the Han dynasty has gone the extra mile to create an immersive “Han cultural” marriage registry hall, allowing newlyweds to experience a traditional Han-style wedding ceremony, which becomes an online sensation, with the hashtag “Xi’an’s immersive Han culture marriage register” drawing in 95 million views on China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo on 20 May. While discussions around events taking place at other registry services have propelled the hashtag “The race among register offices on 520”, which has garnered over 190 million reads on the platform as of publication.