Singles Day

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Singles' Day
Observed by Chinese
Type International
Significance Day for singles to celebrate and socialize
Celebrations Eat youtiao, festivals, clubs/bar
Date November 11
Next time 11 November 2014 (2014-11-11)
Frequency annual
Related to Qi Xi, Valentine's Day

Singles' Day or Guanggun Jie (Chinese: 光棍节; pinyin: Guānggùn Jié; Wade–Giles: Kuang-kun chieh; literally: "bare sticks holiday") is a day of celebration for people who are single. The date is chosen for the connection between singles and the number '1'. This holiday became popular among young Chinese people.[1] In recognition of the day, young singles organize parties and Karaoke to meet new friends or try their fortunes. It has become the largest online shopping day in the world.[2]


University culture[edit]

Singles' Day or Bachelors' Day was initially celebrated at various universities in Nanjing during the 1990s, and originated from Nanjing University in 1993. It got the name "Singles' Day" because the date consists of four "ones". These college students have since graduated, and carried the university tradition into society. Singles' Day has been largely popularized in the internet era and is now a special day for all fashionable youths.

Singles' Day serves an occasion for single people to party with single friends. The holiday was initially only celebrated by young men, hence the name, "Bachelors' Day," but is now widely celebrated by both genders. 'Blind date' parties are also popular during this day in an attempt to bid goodbye to their single lives. Some schools of a university put forward a special program to gather singles together for celebration. Singles may take on a bemoaning or self-deprecating attitude for remaining single as a university student, but this has helped curb that negativity.

2011 marked the "Singles Day of the Century" (Shiji Guanggun Jie), this date having six "ones" rather than four—an excuse to take celebrations to a higher level.[3] Shopping promotions were highlighted throughout China and activities were widespread. Although this date is meant to celebrate singlehood, the desire to find a spouse or mate is often expressed by young Chinese on this date, and other love-related issues are discussed by the Chinese media.


For breakfast on Singles' Day, singles often eat four Youtiao (deep-fried dough sticks) representing the four "ones" in "11.11" and one Baozi (steamed stuffed bun) representing the middle dot.

In 2011, an above-average number of marital celebrations occurred in Hong Kong and Beijing on November 11.[4] In addition to meaning 'single,' the four 'ones' of the date can also mean 'only one' as in 'the only one for me.' Some people will use this date and this meaning to tell their special someone that they are the only 'one' in their heart.

As more people join in the celebration of this holiday, it has become a great opportunity for companies targeting younger consumers, including restaurants, Karaoke, and low-price online shopping malls. For example, the Chinese online shopping mall Taobao sold 19 billion CNY (about 3 billion USD) of goods on November 11, 2012 [5]

In episode 6 of The Apprentice (UK Series Four), team Alpha made a range of themed greeting cards revolving around National Singles' Day,[6] which garnered mixed reception from buyers Clinton Cards, Celebrations and Tesco. Initially, the team planned to designate February 13—the day before Valentine's Day—National Singles' Day. However, Clinton Cards, and Tesco questioned this decision to designate a competing holiday, considering Valentine's Day is one of the major greeting card seasons. Tesco also questioned the market, asking who would send the cards to the single people.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CNN China China's biggest problem? Too many men, November 2012
  2. ^ C. Custer (October 14, 2014). "Tmall CEO: this year, Alibaba plans to take Singles Day global". Tech in Asia. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events? Thinking Chinese, November 2011
  4. ^ Wall Street Journal (2011). Chinese Couples Rush to the Altar on 11/11/11. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  5. ^ VB business,online mall Taobao reports $3B in sales in one day, Nov. 2012
  6. ^ Episode 6 Synopsis at BBC Apprentice Microsite

External links[edit]