BEIJING - China's young lovers rushed to tie the knot on Monday on the auspicious date of Valentine's Day.
Long queues of couples formed at marriage registration offices in Chinese cities, waiting to get their marriage certificates.
"Today is special. We chose Valentine's Day to get married because we believe it will bring us good luck and a happy life," said bride Li Min at a registry in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China's Gansu province.
Office staff issued marriage certificates to 150 couples in just three hours in the morning, seven or eight times the usual number, said Gao Yi, director of the marriage registration office.
There were similar scenes in other cities, such as Guangzhou and Shanghai.
A total of 1,820 couples had registered for marriage in Guangzhou by 4:30 pm on Monday, the highest number in a single day so far this year, according to the city's civil affairs bureau.
Ye Xinping, deputy director of the civil affairs bureau of Guangzhou's Yuexiu district, said more than 400 couples had booked a marriage registration there for Monday. More than 30 workers were transferred to the Yuexiu bureau and 20 volunteers were sought for help.
"We will work until the last couple get registered," Ye said.
Statistics from the marriage registration offices in Shanghai also showed that 680 couples had booked to tie the knot on Valentine's Day, which is at least twice the number on regular working days. The total number is expected to exceed 1,000, as many others will go to the offices without a reservation.
Traditionally, Chinese prefer "lucky number" days or festivals to marry, move to a new home or do other "great" things.
But for many single young people, Valentine's Day was uncomfortable.
"I'm afraid of Valentine's Day. Every year my friends ask 'Why are you still single?'" said white-collar worker Du Jingjing, 27.
"My mom talked about this issue in a very serious manner several days ago, urging me to find a boyfriend and get married soon. I am facing great pressure," she said.