Weddings soar in Year of the Dragon
The coming Year of the Dragon will be busy with weddings, buoyed by fung shui predictions that the lunar year is a prime time to tie the knot, industry insiders say.
And related businesses can expect to do a roaring trade on December 12, or 12/12/12.
Juliana Wing, of the Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel, said: 'We organised nine weddings on October 10, 2010. To get a place on December 12, 2012, people started booking last year.'
The Year of the Dragon starts on January 23. According to the lunar calendar, it is a leap year - the 13th month is meant to synchronise the lunar calendar with the astronomical year. The Chinese define 24 'solar terms' across the 12 lunar months, but during a leap year, there will be an extra solar term.
That is inspiring many to become 'dragon couples'. Ocean Park, which provides themed ceremonies and banquets, said it had received almost 200 wedding bookings, up from 127 a year ago.
'Chinese fung shui says the additional solar term will help a family to prosper,' Joseph Leung, the park's executive director of revenue, said.
Wedding planners are cashing in as well. Lisa Ng of Joyful Wedding, which specialises in traditional wedding rituals, said it was unusual for people to wed in the first month of the lunar calendar, but 12 of her clients will do so this year.
'One pair said they had been waiting for the Year of the Dragon,' said Ng, who has been in the industry for a decade.
She said more Westerners were opting for Chinese ceremonies. 'A client dressed his whole family in traditional outfits, such as the mandarin gown.'
Young people, however, love historical concepts. 'We organise Tang-style weddings in which people dress like Yang Guifei [the consort of a Tang dynasty emperor],' said Ng.
Several auspicious fung shui dates in November and December are nearly fully booked, according to Erica Cheng of the Super Star restaurant group. Banquet prices have been raised to between HK$5,788 and HK$8,988 this year, from HK$4,980 to HK$7,880 last year.