China marks 'Super Singles Day' with marriage rush

A Chinese couple hug after getting married in Shanghai on 11 November 2011
Image caption Couples booked ceremonies in cities across China to take advantage of the date

Thousands of couples across China have opted to get married on what is being called "Super Singles Day".

"Singles' Day" or "Bachelors' Day" is thought to have first been marked in the 1990s by male university students.

They celebrated it on 11 November as the date contains only the number one, which can mean "bare sticks" in Chinese and refer to bachelors.

This year's event is even more significant as it falls on 11/11/11, which happens every 100 years.

Shanghai alone had more than 3,300 couples who booked to get married, but the final tally could be higher as it did not include people who walked in unannounced, a civil affairs bureau spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

In the eastern city of Nanjing - where most people believe the unofficial festival came from - more than 3,000 couples planned to marry.

This was 10 times the usual daily average, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

This festival has also brought commercial opportunities, with online shopping platforms such as Taobao reporting significant sales increases.

Recent census figures show that there are now more men than women in China.

Some are worried that as this trend goes on, many more Chinese men will have to mark this day as they cannot break away from bachelor status.

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