A looming doomsday prophecy did not deter thousands of couples across Asia from getting married yesterday, when the triple-12 date appeared for the last time in a century. In Putonghua, 12-12-2012 resonates with amour. The number 12, pronounced yao ai, sounds the same as "to love". Marriage registries opened early to handle the flood of couples: Shanghai reported 5,000 weddings, five times the normal number; and Beijing 4,700, double the normal level.
In Hong Kong, 696 couples exchanged vows on the day of love. The city's five marriage registries hosted 132 weddings, the most they could handle, according to the Immigration Department, which runs the registries. Others chose services with civil celebrants or at licensed places of worship.
Meanwhile, prophets of doom around the globe are predicting the world will end on December 21 - next Friday - supposedly the final day of the ancient Mayan calendar. But 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, yesterday at the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry.
At least one Hong Kong couple bagged a "quadruple 12" by getting married at 12 noon sharp: Yip Nga-man, 29, and Raymond Ip Ho-yin, 34, exchanged vows at a private marriage registry.
"Why marry on '12/12/12'?" Video by Hedy Bok
In Beijing's Chaoyang district, Alice Liu, 24, said: "The number 12 is lucky in Chinese traditions, and the date 12/12/12 is the last once-in-a-lifetime date this century. Plus we want to get married before December 21, which, as many people said, is the doomsday." As for that doomsday, Hong Kong's Immigration Department already has reservations from 119 brave couples who want to get married on December 21.