Singles’ Day China – Double 11 Holiday Background
“I’m single, therefore I’m proud.” is the main meaning behind this newly-invented holiday originated from China. The 11/11 Day (光棍节, Guānggùn jié) is on November 11th in China, and now the neighboring Taiwan celebrates this holiday, too. It’s also known as Double Eleventh Day, Singles’ Day, or Bachelor’s Day. Unsurprisingly, the four continuous number “1” perfectly represent “a single individual” and thus this day November 11th is the best choice. “光棍节” (Guānggùn jié) literally means “bare sticks holiday” in Chinese.
How to Get Away With Singlehood!? – The Origin of China Singles’ Day
Interestingly, the double 11 Singles’ Day is originated, as being said, from the student activities in Nanjing University in 1993. Yes, the activities that, from the very beginning, four male students in the dorm regularly gathered and discussed how to get away with being single (单身, Dānshēn). They came up with the idea to create the “Singles’ Day” on the upcoming November 11th and also hold activities to celebrate. Gradually this idea spread to the whole campus, then the whole pop culture and especially younger generations in China through the internet.
Celebrating Singles’ Day in China
It’s a holiday of humor and self-mockery for the single people. Usually, people who are single would gather and join the party and give gifts that look similar to the number 11/11. It’s not a traditional holiday, but it totally creates a titanic amount of sales profit.
The ways to celebrate surely will vary from different people and their friend groups, but there are some common “celebrations” happening on this day.
1. Shopping, shopping, and shopping!
For the record, China’s Double 11 Singles’ Day has become the largest day of online shopping in the world. According to the sales on Alibaba’s E-commerce platforms Tmall(天猫, Tiān māo) and Taobao (掏宝, Tāo bǎo), the profit reached 8 billion USD 2013 November 11th, which exceeded twice the total amount of Black Monday and Cyber Monday in America. In 2016 reached over 17 billion USD, breaking the Guinness World Records of sales in nine other different items.
On this day, the online shopping sites would promote the products with considerable discounts and low price. More importantly, it’s the day for the single people to celebrate, praise, and encourage themselves, with these super-cheap items on the online shopping mall.
2. From “Single” to “In Relationship” on this day
The origin of this holiday was to figure out how to get away with singlehood after all, so many people choose to end their singlehood on this day. Some people even get married on Double 11 Day on purpose.
Those who end their singlehood on Singles’ Day are called “脱光, Tuōguāng”, short for “脱离 (separate from)光棍 (bare sticks, single), Tuōlí guānggùn.” Congratulations! Hence, there’s another name for this holiday, “Tuoguang Day (脱光节, Tuōguāng jié).” Now, if you are a “Tuoguang”, learn 5 ways how to say ‘I love you’ in Chinese!
3. Pocky Day in Japan & Pepero Day in South Korea
The power of the four continuous number “1” and the marketing ideas is a beyond our imagination.
In Japan, November 11th is the “Pocky Day” when Japanese celebrate with the snack brand Pocky. The chocolate-coated biscuit sticks perfectly resemble 11/11, and thus on this day, it’s popular to play some games with Pocky biscuit sticks. Pocky games such as piling up Pocky sticks tower, or two people (usually a boy and a girl) eating the same biscuit from the two sides respectively and see if they would kiss at the end.
Same in South Korea, Pepero Day is almost the same thing as Japanese Pocky Day. On this day, Korean would send Pepero biscuit sticks or something similar to 11/11 as gifts to someone they have a crush on! Japan and South Korea also celebrate the Double 11 Day; however, the concept of “being single” is not the main background in Japan and Korea like that is emphasized in China.
The Singles First & Singles’ Day Around the World
Actually, there are many newly-found groups appear on this day such as “Group Go to Hell, Go to Hell” (去死去死团, Qù sǐqù sǐ tuán). Asking the couples to go to hell is the group name’s background. Don’t be serious, it’s all jokes and KUSO culture. The group members would not do anything to hurt or really insult the couples on the streets, relax!
There are different Singles’ Days varies from country to country. For example, Singles’ Day in Korea is on April 14th, and American “Singles Awareness Day”, a.k.a. “SAD.” Singles’ Day is definitely an interesting holiday for all the single people. On this day, just celebrate with friends, laugh like always. And hope everyone who wants to get away with singlehood sooner, good luck!