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For newlyweds worldwide, 12 is the least lonely number

Marvin Mag-Iba, left, and his new bride Mutya Ella Vallada, right, leave Toronto City Hall after they joined the 40 couples to tie the knot on December 12, 2012 (12/12/12).

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Brides and bridegrooms from around the world flocked to the altar on Wednesday to tie the knot on 12/12/12, the last repeating date of the century.

Authorities in Hong Kong said 696 couples were scheduled to attend marriage registries, nearly a fourfold increase compared with the daily average.

In Las Vegas, chapel programmers jumped at the chance to sell 12/12/12 packages at three times the usual price for a weekday ceremony .

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At the Bellagio in Las Vegas, 12 couples paid $5,000 apiece to say "I do" near the casino's famous fountains.

In Toronto, 40 couples descended upon the city's civic wedding chambers to marry, nearly double the number the chambers see on a typical Saturday, the busiest day of the week.

Bridegroom Jason Skinner had a simple reason for choosing to tie the knot on Wednesday: It's an easy date to remember.

"To be honest, my memory is not the greatest. … It's hard to forget this one," Mr. Skinner said.

Demand for a 12/12/12 wedding was so high in Toronto that a second chamber was opened to accommodate all the couples and guests. At one point, 50 people crammed the small space between the two chambers as cameras flashed and ring bearers and flower girls scurried across the floor.

"I've never seen it this busy," said Virginia Ceni, the chambers' assistant director, who has worked there since 1995.

Dec. 12, 2012, has received substantial hype mostly because it is the last repeating date for 89 years. All across Facebook and Twitter, people were reminding one another to take note of the highly rare occurrence.

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According to Gordon Spowart, the founder and president of the Numerology Institute of Canada, 12 – or 1+2 – also forms the trinity, something that has global cultural and religious significance.

"Most people are following it as a simple phenomena … but the trinity is from all cultures around the world that regard the number three as growth and expansion," he told The Globe and Mail.

In basic numerology, three represents happiness and growth, Mr. Spowart said. Three in Chinese culture is also symbolic of growth and is highly revered, he added.

For Christians, the holy trinity refers to the three manifestations of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Buddhist teachings there are the three basic characteristics of existence – impermanence, dissatisfaction and non-self – and in Hinduism there are the important Trimurti deities, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.

But the significance of the trinity wasn't the reason many couples decided to wed on Wednesday.

"Today is the last day of the century with the same date numbers, so it is quite special," said Terance Fung, who got married in Hong Kong.

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Troy Bishop of Toronto and his new husband, Mustafa Nazarali, also picked the date simply because of how rare it is. "It only happens every 100 years, and there was no real reason other than that," Mr. Bishop said.

Two couples at the Toronto chambers had an even rarer experience than their fellow vow takers: being married on 12/12/12 at 12:12 pm.

Michael Philpotts and his new wife, Sherry, didn't even realize it had happened when they came out of the chamber. "It just makes an already special day that much more special," said Mr. Philpotts. "And I won't forget the date."

In Winnipeg, Mike Nazar and Teresa Panchuk also tied the knot at 12:12 p.m.

For Jennifer Walsh, who married Laura McWade on Wednesday in Toronto, the number 12 had a personal meaning. Ms. Walsh's father, who died 10 years ago, was born on July 12.

"It's always been an important number to me … it's always been my number in sports. But it was my father's birthday, so having it on the 12th is the jackpot of all numbers," she said.

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About the Author
News reporter

Daniel Bitonti is a Vancouver-based reporter with The Globe and Mail. Before joining the bureau, Daniel spent six months on the copy desk in the Globe’s Toronto newsroom after completing a journalism degree at Carleton University. More

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