Mayan doomsday 2012
According to the ancient Mayan civilisation, December 21, 2012, represents the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar that begins in the year 3114 BC. It is the completion of 5,200 years counted in 13 baak t’uunes, a unit of time. One baak t’uune is equivalent to 144,000 days, or roughly 400 years. Doomsday believers expect a cataclysmic event to occur that day and end the world.
Mayan doomsday prophecy fails to deter wedding couples
Johnny Tam and Amy Nip
The looming doomsday prophecy – the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21 – did not deter almost 700 couples in the city from tying the knot on Wednesday, when the special “triple 12” date appears for the last time in a century.
But the total number of 12-12-this year weddings – 696 couples – fell well below the 1,002 pairs who exchanged vows on November 11, last year, and the 859 on October 10, 2010 – two dates that fell on a more convenient Friday and Sunday.
Asked about the Mayan calendar, Yung Yu-shing, 28, said, “I say we get married even if it’s going to be the end of the world.” He married his fiancée Tam Hiu-dan, also 28, on Wednesday.
“No matter what happens, we will spend the rest of our lives together,” said Yung, at the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry on Wednesday morning.
"Why marry on the date 12/12/12?" Video by Hedy Bok
They chose that date for their wedding because it would be easy to remember, he said. Initially they feared a booking for their marriage registration would be hard to secure on that date, but their application went through smoothly at the end of August.
The city’s five marriage registries hosted 132 couples exchanging vows – the maximum they could accommodate, according to a spokesman for the Immigration Department, which runs the registries. Others chose services with civil celebrants or at licensed places of worship.
“We chose [a service provided by a] civil celebrant because it was easier to book,” said Yip Nga-man, 29, who married Raymond Ip Ho-yin, 34, on Wednesday. The couple even managed to book the 12.00 noon timeslot to exchange their vows at a private marriage registry in Central – for an even more memorable “quadruple 12”.
Yip said she had been urging her boyfriend to marry her for years, and this year he ran out of excuses to postpone it.
“I started pushing him in 2009, when the first September 9, 2009, came along,” said Yip, whose relationship with her new husband goes back about 10 years. “December 12, this year, was the last time in a century for a triple identical number to happen, so he had no more excuses for postponing it.”
The couple decided to hold their wedding banquet on 1 March 2014 because, in Cantonese and Mandarin, 1-3-14 sounds like the phrase “together forever”.
Since triple-12 fell on a working day – Wednesday – many relatives and friends of the newlyweds might not be free to attend a celebration, said wedding planner Cary Chan of the Petit Ami Wedding Consultancy.
“Some couples made bookings but eventually rescheduled them, [to accommodate their friends],” she said.
Chinese restaurant chain Super Star Group saw no increase in bookings for wedding banquets. In recent years, September 9, 2009, and October 10, 2010, were big hits for weddings because their Chinese translations carried propitious messages: nine means “forever” and ten stands for “perfection”, a Super Star spokeswoman explained.
“December 12, however, does not carry any lucky or sweet connotations,” she added.
Overall, newlyweds are currently spending about HK$6,000 per table for their banquets, about 3 per cent more than a year ago.