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Singapore Math

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Choose Your Marriageable Date

If you were of marriageable age and weren't superstitious, how would you go about choosing your wedding date, one that would help you to remember your wedding anniversary for a long time? One rational, yet free, approach is to choose a “marriageable date.”

A marriageable date may be defined as one that is based on some simple numerical pattern, which a couple can easily remember long after the wedding day is over.

Socially speaking, marriageable dates ought to be religion-free and race-free—they should be derived from some easily recognizable patterns.

Economically speaking, it doesn’t cost more than a few drops of ink to write the memorable date, free from any numerological calculation or influence of a fortune-teller or New Age charlatan.

Sociologically speaking, tying the knot on a marriageable date helps you to divorce yourself from any irrationality and superstition that certain dates in a given year are more auspicious than others.

Palindromic Dates

A palindrome is a word that spells the same when read forward or backward. For instance, MADAM and EVE. And some palindromic sentences or phrases that sound mathematical are

           I prefer pi.          Never odd or even

In mathematical parlance, a palindromic number is one that reads the same when its digits are reversed. Examples of palindromes are 101, 313, 10301, 23432, and 3535353.

Now, let's look at some palindromic dates, the British way:

11th November 2011: 11/11/11         11th February 2011: 11/02/2011     
21st November 2012: 21/11/12          21st February 2012: 21/02/2012
31st March 2013: 31/3/13                 31st August 2013: 31/8/13

Embedded image permalink
: A  cartoon by Paul Karasik
Prior to 2013, we had "hot dates," such as the following:

20th November 2012: 20/11/2012 or 20112012
20th December 2011: 20/12/2011 or 20122011
20th December 2012: 20/12/2012 or 20122012

What about 20th December 2013? 20/12/2013 or 20122013

Other patternful or pseudo-patternful dates in 2013 are:

            1/12/13            2/11/13            12/1/13            9/11/13
            13/2/13            13/11/13          11/12/13          11/2/13

The Beasted Date

On 6th June 2006, the date was “060606”—the beasted date that would have made some hardcore believers sicksick, sick! But in Singapore, it was considered an “auspicious" date which led 310 couples to tie the knot at the Registry of Marriages (ROM). And in Penang, Malaysia, 89 couples also took advantage of that allegedly “lucky” date.

On 3rd March 2003, the date “030303” drew 163 weddings. Based on the DDMMYY pattern, there was also a record of couples tying the knot on 12 December 2012.

The Friday the Thirteenths

Another group of quasi-marriageable dates that superstitious couples usually avoid are those that fall on a Friday the 13th. Two such “unlucky” dates in 2013 that rational folks could leverage on to book their D-Days are:

13th September: 13/9/13
13th December: 13/12/13

The Ghost Month—a Most Marriageable Month

Inauspicious or ill-omened dates superstitious Chinese couples shy away occur during the Seventh Lunar Month, or Ghost Month. This is when rational and budget-conscious couples ought to hold their weddings—when most hotels are charging patrons a promotional rate. Besides, since many irrational or fearful couples avoid tying the knot during the seventh month, the saving for holding a grand wedding at a five-star hotel, at a reasonable price, on any of those "unlucky" days, can be quite significant.

Dates with Consecutive Numerals

One set of marriageable dates involves having the day, month, and year in consecutive order:

8th July: 08/07/06                 9th August: 09/08/07
13th December: 13/12/11      11th December: 11/12/13                

Odd- and Even-numbered Dates

Another set of hot wedding dates have the day, month, and year, in increasing or decreasing multiples of a whole number.

8th October: 8/10/12             9th November: 9/11/13   
7th October: 7/10/13              4th August: 4/8/12                  
3rd August: 3/8/13               14th December: 14/12/10
How many such marriageable dates are there in the Lunar Year of the Snake?

Sierpinski Valentine
D-Day on Valentine's Day

A record 1080 couples registered their marriage on Valentine's Day in 1995, as the Chinese considered it a Double Happiness Day—it coincided with the Chinese version of the Valentine's Day, also known as yuan xiao jie, which is on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese New Year. What's your prediction on February 14, 2013?

Symbolically, tying the knot on Valentine's Day may prove memorable, but unaffordable to many couples as they look for a wallet-friendly hotel to hold their wedding and their subsequent wedding anniversaries.

Date and Time Included

If we marry the time with the date, more interesting patterns emerge. For example, on 4th May 2006 at 8 minutes and 9 seconds, after 7am, the date and time spelled out as

               04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09

Or, on 5th June 2007 at 9 minutes 10 seconds past eight, we had:
               05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10

Can you think of some memorable dates in 2013 and beyond, following a similar pattern?

British (UK) versus American (US) Dates

All the above patternful dates and times are based on the British way of writing dates and times. If we write dates and times the American way, a new set of marriageable dates are generated.   

In British English, dates are generally written with no comma between the month and year: 7 May 2013. American English prefers the style May 7 2013 or May 7, 2013.

In numerical notation, there is a difference: 7/5/13 means 7 May 2013 in Britain and 5 July 2013 in America.

So, decide in advance whether you want to wed in a country where they follow the British or American system of writing numerals. A rational option may save you a few hundred or thousand bucks!


The beauty and utility of marriageable dates is that they don't have to tie up with astrology or geomancy to be sanctioned—they're free from any pseudoscientific influences, which would save you, at the least, a few hundred or thousand dollars and months of headache. Marriageable dates are based purely on meaningful patterns; besides, they provide no excuse for any party in future to forget their wedding anniversary. Indeed, nothing is left to chance and randomness, or fear and superstition.

Patternful dates are more interesting and memorable than geomancized or numerological dates. In addition, a by-product of marriageable dates can prove mathematically educational, as compared to feng shui-formulated dates, which are credulously auspicious and costly. One is based on logic and reason; the other is based on irrationality and fear. So, let's marry reason and patterns to choose our wedding date, while divorcing ourselves from any superstition and irrational fear.


1. How many palindromic “marriageable dates” are there in 2013, if they are written in both British and American English?

2. A set of hot wedding dates have the month, day, and year, in ascending or descending order. For example, 9/11/13 and 12/10/8. How many such odd- and even-numbered dates are there in 2013, if dates are written the American way?

3. On October 11, 2012, at 8 minutes and 9 seconds after 7 o’clock, some Americans expressed the time as follows: 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. How many similar dates can be expressed in this century? How would the answer change if the dates were written the British way?

4. Who would be "luckier," by having more "marriageable dates" in a typical year? Those who write their dates the American or British way? Explain.


Deng, Fern (2006). Devilish or not, 666 is hot wedding date. The Straits Times, June 7, 2006, p. H4.

Koh, Melody (2006). 06.06.06 was a lucky date for them. Today, June 7, 2006, p. 6.

A devil of a date. The Straits Times, June 5, 2006, p. 12.

'030303' draws 163 weddings. Streats. March 3, 2003, p. 2.

© Yan Kow Cheong, February 12, 2013.