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Shanghai ponders limits on marriages
Updated: 2005-02-05 17:09

The Ministry of Civil Affairs is looking at the possibility of limiting the number of couples that can register to marry on any given day.

So far this year, 18,000 couples in Shanghai have registered for marriage, four to five times more than in past years, according to the marriage management division of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

The Pudong registration center received more than 400 couples on Tuesday alone. Normally, so many couples won't register to marry on the same day in the entire city.

Nearly 400 couples have made online registration reservations for tomorrow and February 8, which shows that the peak will linger on.

The marriage rush is due to a folk tale widely spread in the city, which says the approaching Year of the Rooster, since it has no Lichun (the start of spring according to the Chinese lunar calendar), is called a "widow year."

To avoid any bad luck, newlyweds-to-be wait for two hours trying to beat the clock, and marriage clerks are working long hours every day. But many say they are still too busy to drink water or go to the toilet.

The policy, if adopted, would help stop such fuss, which usually comes on an auspicious day according to the lunar calendar, as well as upgrade our service quality, said Zhou Jixiang, director of the division.

"Marriage is a happy and divine event that requires a quiet and relaxing environment," he said. "But now both the couples and our clerks conduct it in pain."

Zhou said the limit could be set according to district centers' average number of registrations every day.

"I think we have the right to decide on which day we should marry, and the registration center should provide convenience instead of blocking us," said Huang Yujie, a local woman.

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