China's Young Bachelors Mark the Singles' Day

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 19:45

A young Chinese woman on Nanjing Road in ShanghaiNovember 11th has become a peculiar holiday in China - it is now known as Guanggun Jie - “Bachelor's Day", "Singles' Day", "Sticks' Day". Whatever you call it, this is the day when unmarried young men and women in the country celebrate, or lament, the fact that they're still not tied the knot with a significant other or simply do not have a signficant other.

The date November 11th became as Singles' Day because of the numbers 11 and 11. It would have been more logical to choose January 1st for this purpose, but, of course, that date has been taken, made into something called the New Year, so November 11th is the day for bachelors and single women in China. People are not sure exactly how Guanggun Jie came about, legend has it that it was started back in the 1990s by four male students at a college in the city of Nanjing. One night, it is said that, as the four young fellows lied in their beds and whined about having no girl friends, they decided to do something positive and uplifting, and that is to celebrate their sad state of life. They chose November 11 as their big date.

We cannot verify if the authenticity of the story above, but we do know that starting in the 1990s more and more young single Chinese started to claim November 11th as their own holiday. For some, this is the date to go out with firends and cry in their beer; for others this is the time to get their courage up and finally speak to that girl or boy whom they have secretly admired for some time.

A lot more others, however, have made November 11th a date for binge shopping, and this is the way China's businesses are really happy to see. In fact, the current publicity for, and the popularity of, the Singles' Day is partly due to the Chinese shop-keepers' active promotion. As result, the Singles Day has become of the most important holidays in China, in terms of social life, and in terms of business. Boy friends and girl friends, more the formmer than the latter, are supposed to buy some nice gifts for their significant other, and Chinese businesses are just too happy to oblige. Given that the Singles' Day are in November, the holiday has achieved a kind of importance, commerce-wise, same as that of the Thanksgiving, as a festival kicks off China's yearly holiday season.

Happy Singles Day to China's young singles. Celebrate, be merry, and think hard how next year you do not have to mark this holiday, one that you should both hate and love.