Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 08:47 UK

'Olympic wedding' surge in China

Chinese child (file photo)
China's surge of Olympic patriotism is having an effect on family life

Thousands of Chinese couples are applying to tie the knot on 8 August, to help celebrate the opening of the Beijing Olympics, state media say.

The number eight also brings good fortune in Chinese folklore, and the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 is regarded as especially propitious.

Officials have vowed to grant marriages licenses to all the applicants.

Earlier this month, China reported a surge in the number of children named Aoyun, meaning Olympic Games.

The rise in popularity of the name is seen as a sign of support for the Games.

Friday was the first day applications to marry on 8 August were accepted.

About 1,000 couples queued for hours in Beijing to register for that day, Xinhua news agency reported.

The authorities expect a total of 9,000 couples to apply in the coming weeks, it added.

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