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March 12, 2010

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Office sets extra hours for a perfect 10-10-10

ON October 10, the city will open its marriage registration service for the first time on a Sunday, expecting what could be a record number of couples on a most auspicious date.

No doubt many young people will want to mark their calendars for 10-10-10, which has the Chinese meaning "perfection in everything."

The Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau estimates that couples tying the knot in Shanghai this October 10 may even exceed the 8,852 on September 9, 2009. The 9-9-9 combination means "forever."

In fact, last year's number broke the record set on August 8, 2008, when 7,189 couples wanted to get married on 8-8-8, which denotes bountiful fortune and prosperity.

New couples' enthusiasm had been dimmed when bureau officials denied the possibility of service on weekends.

But the dreams were lit up again after government heard strong public sentiment to loosen the restriction.

"We try to be more human-oriented," said Zhou Jixiang, director of the bureau's marriage management division.

Online appointments will start September 10.

Couples said the news was a surprise. "In fact we have arranged to register on other days, and now maybe we'll reconsider again," said Helina Ye, a college teacher.

Zhou said it's hard to say how many people will rush to the registration office on the day, but very possibly a new record will be set.

"It's a Sunday, and nothing is better than perfection."


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