There's a reason Chinese officials chose to begin the Olympic Games on the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the century. For billions of people, including Asian-Americans in the Southland, eight is a very lucky number. KPCC's Brian Watt checked in yesterday on last-minute preparations for a lot of celebrations.
Brian Watt: First stop: Almansor Court – a special events venue in Alhambra.
Gary Miller: Well, we've got a lakeside gazebo where we're walking on the grass now, we're soon to be building a nice walkway for the guests.
Watt: Oh, I see.
Miller: But, you can see that chairs are set...
Watt: One hundred chairs to be exact, for the first of three wedding ceremonies. General Manager Gary Miller told me Fridays are usually very slow in the wedding biz.
Miller: To entice people away from the traditional Saturday, we offer discounts to our wedding packages, and I think that's one of the reasons why we just filled up immediately.
Watt: But this is still a pretty special Friday.
Miller: I've been here 12 years and I haven't seen 5 wedding receptions and 3 wedding ceremonies on a Friday.
Watt: So even though it was 8-8-8, and you all knew it was 8-8-8, you let the discount stand?
Miller: Oh, absolutely, we weren't going to nickel and dime people because there was a special trick or coincidence with the date.
Watt: True to its reputation, there goes the number 8, delivering luck and a good bargain.
Henry Wang: For Chinese people, the number 8 is a number of prosperity, and so, you know, three in a row is even better.
Watt: That's Henry Wang of Lucy's Bridal and Photography. He was making a pick-up at the Friar Tux formal wear shop in San Gabriel. The place handled twice the usual number of tuxedo orders for a week in August. All, Wang said, because culture helps determine what's lucky.
Wang: Last year, 7-7-7 for, you know, the American population. This 8-8-8 is, you know, pretty crazy for China and all the Asian People.
Watt: Wang said his family's business had provided all or part of the gown-and-portrait packages for 15 to 20 weddings scheduled for today. And almost as many for tomorrow – the 9th.
Wang: 9 is good, too for Chinese people, because 9 means long time, means longevity, so you're rich for a long time, and rich again. I get 8-9-8. You know.
Watt (laughing): I see.
Wang: However way you can work the numbers in there. You know.
Watt: Wang is 30 years old. He got married 3 years ago. He says most young Asian-American couples don't place too much emphasis on choosing the perfect wedding date.
Wang: It's just more for the parents, and it's, you know, it's part of their culture. So even though they don't care, their parents might say "Uh, maybe you should consider August instead of September." And, you know, it doesn't hurt.
Watt: My last stop was, no kidding, the 888 Seafood Restaurant in Rosemead. Co-owner Tony Wong said the place was preparing to host one wedding banquet and another big celebration.
Tony Wong: We have an 8-year-old birthday boy. Whose birthday is also August the 8th, and he want to have an event here.
Watt: Wong said that to get his party started, the 8-year-old took his cue from the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. So for the lucky kid and 100 guests, the festivities begin at 8:08... tonight.