Spring fever and a weeklong holiday combine to make May a busy month for wedding banquets - and this year is no exception even though it's considered an inauspicious time to tie the knot.
In fact, the crowds of couples lining up to schedule wedding feasts are so large that Shanghai is facing a shortage of masters of ceremonies.
To fill the gap, the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association had to launch an urgent training program for new talent.
"We're training some 40 new hosts, who will undergo examinations and start their jobs in May," said Huang Liping, secretary general of the association.
At present, there are about 200 wedding service agencies in the city, employing some 1,000 hosts.
And most companies are reporting full schedules for May.
Cai Yong, a manager at Shanghai Iris Wedding Agency, said that all the company's service teams have been booked for weddings during the Labor Day holiday week, which starts on May 1, and every Saturday and Sunday next month.
"May is always the best time for weddings," Cai said. "On some days, we'll be handling as many as three weddings."
Many hotels and restaurants also said their banquet halls will be full in May.
Henry Yang, who will hold his wedding banquet on May 7, said the month is the best time for the ceremony.
"The weather is good, and most of our friends and relatives will be free during the holiday. It's also a good time to go for a honeymoon," said the 28-year-old trade company clerk.
Like many young couples, Yang and his wife completed their marriage registration before the start of the new lunar year on February 9. Because of a quirk in the timing between the solar and lunar calendars, there is no solar spring in the Year of the Rooster. Years without a spring are called "widow years" and are considered a bad time to get married. But the superstition applies only to the registration process.
So many young couples rushed to register before the end of the last lunar year and scheduled their wedding feasts for this year.