Thousands bet on 11-11-11 to bring good luck
Published Friday, November 11, 2011 5:56PM EST
From Shanghai to Cairo, people around the world are celebrating Friday's unique date -- 11/11/11 -- including many couples who are marking the occasion by tying the knot.
In Las Vegas, the so-called "wedding capital of the world," the city was expecting a bumper crop on Friday, with many of the nuptials presided over by Elvis himself… or at least an Elvis impersonator.
The Clark County clerk's office in Las Vegas had to stay open until midnight on Thursday to accommodate all the couples rushing in to get marriage licences ahead of their special day. About two licences were handed out every minute, according to Clark County Clerk Diana Alba.
However, it wasn't clear whether the city would be busier with weddings than on July 7, 2007, a date made up of three lucky sevens.
"That was like the granddaddy of all dates," Alba said.
At the Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip, owner Rev. Charlotte Richards said the chapel had 100 couples planning to marry on Friday, including some who are just planning to renew their vows. In 30 of the weddings, an Elvis impersonator will serenade the couple.
At least 75 additional staff members were brought in to accommodate the ceremony surge, some of which were booked two years in advance.
"We have 17 ministers, limousine drivers, greeters, videographers," Richards told the local CNN affiliate, KJCT.
The Viva Las Vegas Weddings chapel, the largest in the Las Vegas valley, also had 190 ceremonies booked, including 22 Elvis-style weddings, three Blues Brothers weddings, and a Camelot-themed ceremony.
"We're looking at the Super Bowl of weddings," owner Brian Mills told local TV station KTNV, who notes the chapel usually average about 300 weddings per month.
"Part of the thrill is that it'll be a day the couple won't forget -- as in it will be easy to remember your anniversary," Mills told KJCT, adding he's already looking forward to 12/12/12.
Calgary numerologist Vikki MacKinnon said she thought the day would be "cosmic wake-up call."
"Eleven is a number of illumination and enlightenment, a number of insight, blinding flashes of the obvious, and a number of transformation," she said.
In New Jersey, a hospital was reporting that Air Force veteran Danielle Saydeh gave birth to a baby boy at 11:11 a.m.
And farther abroad, thousands of couples were jamming wedding halls or joining matchmaking groups in various parts of Asia, hoping to find love on what many hoped would be a lucky day.
In Shanghai, thousands of couples registered to get married on Nov. 11 compared to about 500 on an average day.
The celebration will carry over to Saturday, when 10,000 singles are to converge on a huge "matchmaking emporium" in the city.
In Malaysia, about 1,000 ethnic Chinese couples exchanged vows at temples and clan association halls. Some even lined up to ensure they could start their married life at 11 a.m. sharp.
"The numbers rhyme with one husband, one wife and one soul in Chinese and signifies a marriage that would last a lifetime," bride Pua Kim Giok told The Associated Press.
But the day 11-11-11 hasn't been all about fun. In Egypt, the country's antiquities authority was forced to close the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday because of rumours that unidentified groups planned to descend on the site to hold spiritual ceremonies at 11:11 a.m.
The pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning.
The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold "Jewish" or "Masonic" rites on the site to take advantage of purported mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the date.
The complex's director, Ali al-Asfar, said Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called "hug the pyramid," in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure.
The request was denied but it's thought that the group planned to go ahead anyway.
Al-Asfar insisted the closure was unrelated to those rumours, saying the pyramid needed maintenance following a large number of visitors during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday last week.
With files from The Associated Press