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China Singles’ Day Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in festivals, Shopping

China Singles’ Day is celebrated every year in November 11th.

Image via Pixabay

China Singles’ Day 光棍节 (Guāng gùn jié) is not an old Chinese tradition or an adopted western holiday. It’s a unique Chinese holiday generated in the 90’s by single students of Nanjing University. From Nanjing University, it spread to other campuses and gradually outside of the campuses. 光棍节 was established as a day to celebrate singlehood, a contrast to the lovers’ festivals: 七夕节 (Qīxì jié) and Valentine’s Day. The chosen day is the Gregorian date of 11/11. It is also called 双十一 (shuāng shíyī, literally means “a pair of elevens”).

  • 光棍节于1990年代诞生于南大,随后传播到各地大学。

Guānggùn jié yú 1990 niándài dànshēng yú nándà, suíhòu chuánbò dào gèdì dàxué.

China Singles’ Day was generated in the 90’s in Nanjing University, and soon after

was spread to universities around the country.

Every holiday has its traditional dish. Even 光棍节. 双十一 resemble four bare branches 光棍 (a Chinese expression for a unmarried person, hence the name), but also resemble four 油条 (yóu tiáo) – deep fried stick of dough, usually eaten for breakfast. Four油条 with one 包子 (bāozi, a filled bun) or one 鸡蛋 (jīdàn, an egg) to resemble the dot became the holiday symbol. Most bachelors and bachelorettes probably don’t eat 四个油条和一个包子 (sì gè yóutiáo hé yīgè bāozi) for Singles’ Day breakfast. But if they want to feel festive they will go, maybe with friends, to eat some 油条.

  • 四根油条代表四个一,一个包子就代表中间的一个点。

Sì gēn yóutiáo dàibiǎo sì gè yī, yīgè bāozi jiù dàibiǎo zhōngjiān de yīgè diǎn.

Four fried sticks represent four ones, one bun represents the dot in the middle.

There are varied ways to celebrate Singles’ Day, 光棍节庆祝的方式五花八门 (Guānggùn jié qìngzhù de fāngshì wǔhuābāmén). Movie, party, dinner, it all goes. You can choose your own way to mark this day. Recently, due to retailers’ intervention, the holiday became a shopping frenzy. Massive online discounts attract singles and non-singles, Chinese and non-Chinese, to spend 光棍节 shopping online. Alibaba, which started the mercantile bonanza in 2009, hosted a lavish gala in Shanghai last year, with celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, to help count down the moments before releasing their Singles’ Day deals. Within 24 hours, Alibaba recorded 25 billion dollars of sales.

  • 本来一个普通的日子,改造成了购物节。

Běnlái yīgè pǔtōng de rìzi, gǎizào chéngle gòuwù jié.

Originally an ordinary day was transformed to a shopping festival.

My tips for the coming holiday:

  • 早餐要吃油条,真好吃。

Zǎocān yào chī yóutiáo, zhēn hào chī.

Eat fried sticks for breakfast, it’s really tasty.

  • 网购自己一直想买的东西,但是不要超支了!

Wǎnggòu zìjǐ yīzhí xiǎng mǎi de dōngxī, dànshì bùyào chāozhīle!

Buy online things you’ve always wanted, but don’t overspend!

  • 参加聚会。

Cānjiā jùhuì.

Go to a party.

  • 节日只要过得开心就好。

Jiérì zhǐyàoguò dé kāixīn jiù hǎo.

Most important is to enjoy the holiday.


jiérì kuàilè!

Happy holiday!



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