Double 11 (or Single’s Day), which used to be celebrated as Bachelor’s Day, is an unofficial Chinese holiday, but what it’s arguably best known for is a shopping festival celebrating people that aren’t in relationships. Every year, on the 11th of November, the Chinese kick off the most significant physical retail and online shopping event in the world.
Although the date symbolizes being single, not branching out the family tree, and celebrating the single demographic groups of China, this date has paradoxically become a very popular time to celebrate relationships. In fact, in 2001, more than 4,000 couples tied the knot in Beijing on singles day!
Origins of Single’s Day
Double 11 or Single’s Day originated at Nanjing University in 1993 before spreading to several other universities. The original date of 11/11 was chosen as the day on which to celebrate single’s day as it represents four single digits.
Although there are many ideas explaining the origins of Double 11 day and the festival that surrounds the date, the most widespread idea is that it originated in Nanjing University’s dorm culture. It’s believed that four male students at the university (all of which were single) discussed breaking away from the monotony of single life, agreeing that 11/11 would be spent celebrating the idea of being single. As the idea spread from one university to another, it eventually got adopted by contemporary Chinese society and culture.
Modern Single’s Day Significance
In essence, Double 11 day is a day for single people to socialize even though it was once only celebrated by single young men. This is also why it was initially called bachelor’s day. However, today the event is celebrated by both sexes, and it’s not uncommon for blind date parties to be hosted on single’s day.
Although Single’s Day is not an official Chinese public holiday, it does mark the single largest shopping day in the world. In 2017, Alibaba’s websites Tmall and Taobao reached sales of over $25.4 billion. In fact, Single’s Day is almost four times bigger than America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days!
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