The number of marriage registrations in multiple regions across China increased year-on-year on Tuesday, which was the traditional Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine's Day. It's the first Qixi after the country expanded an inter-provincial marriage registration pilot program to 21 provincial-level regions.
Many couples choose the day to tie the knot as they believe that the day could bring good luck and blessings to their marriage, thanks to the festival's romantic theme and cultural significance.
In Beijing alone, a total of 3,250 couples were registered on the day, among which, 1,253 were involved with cross-provincial services, reported The Beijing News. According to reports in 2022, a total of 1,389 couples registered on the same day last year.
In Beijing's Haidian district marriage registration office, a Global Times reporter on Tuesday witnessed many couples dressed up holding flowers or offering gifts with each other to express their feelings. They read wedding vows solemnly on the site, meanwhile, the employees from the registration office gave the newlyweds lectures about the responsibilities and obligations to the marriage and family.
In Shanghai, a total of 1,338 couples registered for marriage on the day this year, higher than the number of 503 couples during last year's Qixi Festival.
China's State Council approved the expansion of an inter-provincial marriage registration pilot program to 21 provincial-level regions across the country in May, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, as well as North China's Hebei Province, East China's Anhui Province and South China's Hainan Province, a move welcomed by the country's migrant population, who no longer need to return to their hometowns to register their marriage.
Along with Beijing, Shanghai, some other regions including East China's Fujian and Jiangsu provinces, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have all seen a marriage registration spike during the festival.
Fujian Province saw a total of 2,812 couples getting married on Tuesday, while in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a total of 3,503 couples registered for marriage on Tuesday, said the local authorities. "We came here early, also for a good luck," a resident surnamed Liu said.
In Jianyang, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, newlyweds who came to register queued in an orderly manner at the registration office on early Tuesday morning, according to local authorities. "We've known each other for 11 years and we've been in love for seven years. We can finally be a family, and we're happy," said one couple.
But some regions experienced a different situation. One district office in Sichuan only registered 12 couples on the day with the office conducting a livestreaming event, which triggered broad online discussion.
China recorded a decline in marriage registrations, with the number of 6.83 million in 2022, according to the latest quarterly report released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in June. China registered around 7.64 million marriages in 2021, down 6.1 percent from the previous year, according to the authorities.
The country has been making efforts to build a marriage-friendly environment over recent years, including launching pilot projects in 20 cities to build a new-era marriage and childbearing culture, vigorously creating a child-bearing-friendly social environment.