October 10, 2010, is the only 24-hour period in the entire 21st century where the date can also be written out as 10/10/10.
Many are thinking about the role of luck in life today, thanks to the symmetry of this once-in-a-century day. Even for those of us not into superstitions around numbers and dates, there is something powerful about the number 10: it’s our symbol of perfection, personified by Bo Derek’s famed beach jog in the 1979 film 10; it’s the number featured in everything from the Ten Commandments to David Letterman’s Top 10 List. At the recent FIFA World Cup, some bookies and game watchers paid special attention to the performances of athletes wearing the No. 10 jersey, a number that some numerologists say is a powerful one that represents great fame and reputation.
In the days leading up to the momentous date, one online casino was offering slot tournaments dealing with No. 10, along with prizes in the amount of $1,010. Conservation groups around the world combined their efforts for a 10:10 campaign, inviting people to take local actions to make their communities better places to live.
And a few troublemakers have tried to cash in on the notoriety of the day, as a rumour circulated on sites such as Facebook that at 10 minutes and 10 seconds past 10 o’clock, a malicious virus would sweep cyberspace and bring computers around the world to a standstill (if you’re reading this now, then rest assured it was only a rumour).
Nomi Whalen got the jump on the rest of us when it came to noticing the big day. “I knew back in the summer that 10/10/10 was coming,” says Calgary’s longest serving marriage commissioner with a hearty chuckle. “That’s when my phone started ringing off the hook with couples wanting to get married on a Sunday in October. I thought, ’Why is everyone booking on a Sunday? I went over to my calendar and went ’Uh-huh.’”
According to Whalen, Sundays and mid-week days are usually slow ones for weddings - except for those dates like 09/09/09 (last Sept. 9, which fell on a Wednesday). “That was ridiculously busy,” says the woman who estimates she’s married more than 5,000 Calgary couples in her 30 years at the altar.
Whalen says there are many reasons couples are drawn to setting the big date on ones such as these. “It’s fun to have your wedding date an interesting one, and it’s easy to remember.” Of course, she acknowledges, the biggest draw for many is the luck that some ascribe to numbers.
In cities such as Toronto, the city’s wedding service today is open on a rare Sunday, to cater to 22 prospective brides and grooms, holding its ceremonies in a hotel across the street from its usual venue; the Vancouver Cultural Wedding Show in late September experienced an unusually high turnout, reportedly due to women planning for their October 10 weddings.
Pearl Tsang’s relatives can be counted among those more superstitious types. The host of CTV Calgary’s ’In Touch’ segments always knew she wanted to marry in October. “I love the romance of fall, with the leaves on the ground and the cool weather,” says the 31-year-old. “We saw the 10/10/10 - we thought that would be kind of a kick, and easy for us to remember over the years.”
When she and her fiance, Paul Dhaliwal, told her parents, they were thrilled. “They said 10 is a lucky number in Chinese culture, as it means perfection,” she says. But when her grandmother opened her Chinese almanac and saw that 10/10/10 wasn’t as auspicious as 10/9/10, she and Dhaliwal agreed to hold the tea ceremony portion of the nuptials a day earlier. “So now our wedding ceremony is spread over two days,” she says with a laugh. Her family would have preferred she married on Aug. 8, 2008 - 8/8/8 - because that’s even luckier. “But Paul and I weren’t quite ready to go there two years ago.”
Despite the excitement 10/10/10 stirs among some, it’s not exactly causing a frenzy among those who understand the intricacies of numerology.
“It doesn’t have the same energy as the No. 8,” says Soleiha Mahrcell, who has worked as Whalen’s assistant for the past seven years. “You have to consider the 2010 aspect, which makes it a number three, and the energy of the entire day is a five,” says Mahrcell, who has also studied numerology.
Most people who are into numerology, she adds, choose their wedding day based on astrological data that are more precise and tailored to their individual needs.
Viki MacKinnon backs up Mahrcell’s interpretations of the role of the number 10 in numerology. “There’s really no quick answer,” she says to my question about just what 10 really means. “(The number) 1 is individuality, originality and leadership,” she says of the digits that she believes have cosmic energy. “And 0 is everything that is divine. Whenever you have a zero after a number, that number is magnified.”
Still, MacKinnon, who’s been a numerologist for nearly three decades through her business with the catchy name ’Got Your Number’ doesn’t think getting married on 10/10/2010 can be a bad thing. “When we add up all the numbers, it’s a 5,” she says. “And 5 is about the fullness of life, enjoying the abundance. It’s a day that strongly favours family celebration.”
Say what you will about 10/10/10: for Troy White, it means just that, with a good sprinkling of luck thrown in.
“Our girls were born two months early and weighed just three pounds each - when my wife Kari was first pregnant, we were told we were going to lose one of them,” the 42-year-old native Calgarian says of Katrina and Hailey, his 10-year-old twins who came into the world on 10/10/00. “They were so tiny, it was ’Heart-in-your-throat’ scary,” he says.
Today, White’s “good luck charms” are happy and healthy girls on their way to tween-dom. The birthday celebrations will include a backyard Alice-in-Wonderland party, complete with dad dressed as the Mad Hatter. “Those numbers matter - like the number 10, they’re perfect.”
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