- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

It may not be as big as 7/7/7, but thousands of couples are heading down the aisle Friday, hoping the date Aug. 8, 2008, brings them luck and an easy-to-remember anniversary date.

The number eight has long been considered fortuitous in China, where people pay extra to have it in phone numbers and license plates - and the Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympic Games falls on Aug. 8.

“We chose the date because eight has always been our lucky number,” said upcoming bride Denise Becker, 26, a middle-school teacher in East Northport, N.Y.

She and her fiance always found themselves in Seat 8, Row 8, at movie theaters with eight screens. She started planning her wedding 1 1/2 years ago and was surprised that venues were booked.

Another 8/8/08 bride, Stacy Ebert, 34, of Surprise, Ariz., has a long relationship with the number.

“I like the way it looks, that it’s continuous, said Miss Ebert, a Home Depot cashier. “We waited until 2008 because I like eight. Otherwise, we would have gotten married earlier.”

In China, the pronunciation of the word eight sounds like the phrase for great fortune, said Han-Chia Li, an instructor of Chinese at the University of Mississippi. A reported record 9,000 Chinese couples plan to tie the knot that day.

In the United States, the wedding and gift registry site WeddingChannel.com has seen a 213 percent increase in weddings for Aug. 8, 2008, versus the comparable Friday last year on Aug. 10, said Summer Krecke, the deputy editor.

The Rev. Clint Hufft, who married Trista and Ryan Sutter, of “The Bachelorette” reality show, said he has received more wedding requests for 8/8/08 than any other day of the year by far.

Many marrying couples are carrying eight even further with eight-course dinners, eight bridesmaids, 8:08 p.m. first dances.

Along with great fortune, the number eight is the atomic number for oxygen. There are eight days of Hanukkah. The symbol for infinity takes on the shape of eight, and there are eight planets since Pluto was demoted.

Miss Becker plans to wear an infinity necklace with her wedding dress.

Numerologist Glynis McCants advises people to avoid confrontations on Friday (if you trace the number 8, you go around and around). She encourages people to light a white candle and reflect on financial prosperity because eight in numerology promotes financial security.

Even so, the triple-eight wedding date doesn’t appear to be as popular in the U.S. as 7/7/07, one of the busiest for weddings last year, said Sally Kilbridge, deputy editor of Brides magazine.

It helped that it fell on a Saturday, though Fridays are gaining popularity for weddings, she said.

Triple sevens are also a winning combination on slot machines. There are seven days in the week, seven wonders of the world, seven continents, and of course, the seven deadly sins. There are also numerous references to seven in religion, such as the seven days of creation and baby Buddha’s seven steps.

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