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February 19, 2010

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Weddings defy lore of averages

IS the "springless" Year of the Tiger putting young Chinese couples off marrying this year? Not really. The generation born in the 1980s don't pay much attention to lore.

An ancient Chinese tradition says it is inappropriate to wed in the 2010 Lunar Year, as there is no "spring" in it.

Here "spring" refers to "Spring Commences," one of the 24 solar terms on the traditional calendar. It usually falls on February 4 or 5.

"Spring Commences" fell on February 4 in 2010, before the Lunar New Year which began on February 14. In 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, it comes after the start of the Spring Festival on February 3.

Xiao Fang, a Chinese lore expert with Beijing Normal University, said according to ancient custom, spring meant the start of life.

"Springless makes people think of no offspring or no husband," he said.

'Widow Year'

Thus this Year of the Tiger is called a "Widow Year" in Chinese lore.

However, this doesn't faze 27-year-old Xiao Feng, a bride-to-be. "My fiance and I have experienced many ups and downs in our relationship," she said. "We can't be simply defeated by a belief that has no scientific proof."

Tradition says two springs in a lunar year is the best scenario.

To avoid the "springless" year, many couples rushed to tie the knot in the auspicious Year of the Ox, which ran from January 26, 2009, to February 13, 2010, and thus had two springs.

Official statistics show that in east China's Jiangsu Province, for example, more than 110,000 couples registered their marriage between January 1 and February 13, the last day of the Year of the Ox.

In Nanjing, the provincial capital of Jiangsu, the number of new marriages in the Year of the Ox grew 48 percent year on year.

Mixed blessings

The Year of the Dragon in 2012, has both good and bad omens - although it has two springs, suspicion says the world will end that year.

What about 2013, assuming those suspicions are wrong? Springless again.

The best wedding year for the superstitious is 2014, the Year of the Horse, with two springs and no bad omens.

Xiao Feng's superstitious mother did not want her daughter to wait four years to become a bride, so gave her approval for the wedding to be held this year.

As it turned out, when they went to a wedding service agency to arrange their ceremony for the Lunar New Year holiday, six couples were queued ahead of them and none cared about the "springless" Year of the Tiger.

Fang Ming, associate researcher with the Jiangsu Academy of Social Sciences, said "springless" lunar years were common.

"It is merely a strange combination of lunar and solar calendars, and has no bearing on good or ill luck, let alone marriage happiness," he said.

Xiao Fang agreed there was no evidence that marriage and lunar years were linked.


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