JOHOR BARU - Many couples are likely to book a date in the auspicious-sounding 2018 to get hitched.
The number 8 is a favourite among the Chinese as the pronunciation ba in Mandarin or pat in Cantonese sounds like fatt, meaning good fortune.
"In Cantonese, 1 and 8 sounds like yat fatt, indicating yat yat fatt or prosper every day," said Johor Theng Chuan Tan Clan Association president Tan Kim Tong.
As 2018 coincides with the lunar Year of the Dog, which signifies gentility, it is believed to be a calm and gentle year and good for auspicious events like getting married, added the Bukit Indah Ang Siang Keng Temple committee chairman.
Next year's Valentine's Day is expected to be a popular date for lovebirds to tie the knot for a "double happiness" occasion as it is a mere two days before Chinese New Year, which starts on Feb 16.
"These couples will enter Chinese New Year on a high," said Johor Baru Tiong-Hua Association deputy president Datuk Kelvin Lee, a certified marriage registrar.
Johor Chefs Association chairman and Grand Straits Garden executive director John Ang said more than 80 per cent of the weekends in 2018 have been booked for wedding receptions at his restaurant.
"However, couples usually consider weekends rather than attractive dates like 1.8.18 or 8.1.18 to accommodate their guests," he said.
In Klang, Datuk Seri Teh Meng Huat, the owner of the Emperor Cuisine Chinese restaurant, pointed out auspicious-sounding dates like 8.1.18, 8.2.18 or 1.8.18 but the dates fall on weekdays.
"Also, August will coincide with the Hungry Ghost month (which starts on Aug 11), so weddings are less likely to be held.
A Klang Hokkien Association spokesman said two special mass wedding registration sessions have been planned for 1.1.18 (public holiday) and 9.9.18 (Sunday).
"Double digit of 1 and 9 signifies eternity," she explained.
In Penang, Koo Soo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Tea-house Association chairman Vinah Yee said reservations at major restaurants in Penang on auspicious weekends have been taken throughout 2018.
Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society assistant registrar of marriage Yeoh Loy Cheow said the dates may look nice but not necessarily be auspicious for marriage based on Chinese beliefs.
The fact is echoed by feng shui master Kenny Hoo, who noted that some auspicious-looking dates may not complement a person's zodiac sign.
Some folk may fancy selecting "look-and-feel good" dates for major events such as 8.8.18, 18.8.18 or 28.8.18 for nuptials or other important events.
"But the more auspicious dates can be found in June, July, October and November," he said.