If you didn’t know, every 11th of November in China is Singles’ Day: 光棍节 (Guānggùn Jié). Literally this is something like “lone stick day”, as the elevens in the date look like people standing alone: 11 11. And of course one is the loneliest number.
This year is particularly special, though. It’s the 11th of November 2011, so the date is completely elevens: 11-11-11. It’s a 广大光棍节 . This was admittedly more special a thousand years ago, as it was 11-11-1111, but no-one cared then as the Chinese calendar at the time made it the year 3807.
In any case, today can be singled out as a Super Special Singletons Singularity, and it won’t happen again until 11-11-2111, so you singles out there better make the most of it! After a century of ageing your chances will be even slimmer.
What to do on Singles Day
Traditions include humiliating dinner parties for singles, where everyone pays their own (normally in China one person in the group pays for everyone), and trying to find partners for your single friends.
You can also eat four deep fried dough sticks ( 油条 ) to represent 11 11, and one stuffed dumpling ( 包子 ) or one egg ( 鸡蛋 ) to represent the dot between them. The resulting grease smeared across your face is sure to attract the opposite sex.
Super Singles Celebrations
Fantastically, many Chinese online video games also celebrate this festival, offering players in-game gifts and special events. The irony of this is too easy to point out, so I won’t.
The Shanghai Metro also got into the spirit of things today, with the 1111th train on Line 11 setting off at 11am, playing special music for all the single passengers on board. Bet they loved that.
So, on behalf of everyone here at East Asia Student (it certainly isn’t just me on my own..): Happy Singles’ Day!