Tens of thousands of Chinese are rushing to get married Friday, as China marks the official start of the Olympic Games.

China's official Xinhua news agency says over 16,000 couples in the capital, Beijing, have applied to get married Friday.

An official in one Beijing district Chongwen tells VOA that while his office usually registers 20 to 30 marriages a day, it is expected to handle more than 600 Friday.

Xinhua says other cities across China have also seen a surge in marriages Friday, an auspicious day for Chinese.

The Opening Ceremony for the Games falls on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008. The number eight is a lucky number in China because it sounds like the word for "prosperity" or "wealth" in Chinese.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.