Singles Day

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Singles' Day
Singles' day illustration.png
An illustration for the Chinese e-commerce holiday 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 2015 (2015-11-11)
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 for people who are single, celebrated on November 11 (11/11). 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] with sales in Alibaba's sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 billion in 2013 and US$9.3 billion in 2014.[3]


Singles' Day or Bachelors' Day was initially celebrated at various universities in Nanjing during the 1990s, and originated from Nanjing University in 1993.[citation needed] It got the name "Singles' Day" because the date consists of four "one"s. 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 observed by youth in several regions outside China as well.

Singles' Day serves as 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.[citation needed] '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.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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 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 [6]

In episode 6 of The Apprentice (UK Series Four), team Alpha made a range of themed greeting cards revolving around National Singles' Day,[7] 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.


The term "双十一" (meaning "Double 11") was trademarked in China by Alibaba Group on Dec 28, 2012 under registration numbers 10136470 and 10136420. In Oct 2014, Alibaba threatened legal action against media outlets that accept advertising from competitors that use this term.[8]

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. ^ Steven Millward (November 12, 2014). "New record for world’s biggest shopping day as Alibaba’s shoppers spend $9.3 billion in 24 hours". Tech in Asia. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events? Thinking Chinese, November 2011
  5. ^ Wall Street Journal (2011). Chinese Couples Rush to the Altar on 11/11/11. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  6. ^ VB business,online mall Taobao reports $3B in sales in one day, Nov. 2012
  7. ^ Episode 6 Synopsis at BBC Apprentice Microsite
  8. ^ Eric Johnson (Nov 6, 2014). "The Chinese government has essentially given Alibaba the 'Double 11' market". InvestorPlace. Retrieved Nov 10, 2014. 

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