What is China’s Singles’ Day Guānggùn jié 光棍节

Every year on Valentine’s Day, February 14, and Chinese Valentine’s Day (this year on August 4),  we see many love and romance photographs.

But have you heard about Singles’ Day? The holiday is celebrated by a lot of singles in China, or what you in Chinese say as dānshēn gǒu 单身狗. This word denotes “single dogs”.

Every November 11, a memorable Chinese holiday is held. And because the date is 11/11, this date is chosen because it is a festival that celebrates single people.

This article explains how and why China celebrates Singles’ Day.


China’s Singles’ Day and its origin

China’s Singles’ Day has two Chinese names. One is Guānggùn jié 光棍节, the other is shuāng shíyī 双十一 “Double 11”. It is a Chinese holiday for bachelors and a day to celebrate singlehood.

Guānggùn jié 光棍节 translated word for word means “single stick day”, and it has become a single-awareness day among young Chinese people. 

The holiday began in the 1990s at Nanjing University. Single students decided to celebrate being single on November 11 since the date bears four “ones,” which stands for four singles or singles life. 

Even though Guānggùn jié 光棍 Singles’ Day isn’t an official holiday, it’s popular in China and other nations. This is a day for singles to treat themselves to gifts, food, and a night out.

The Chinese holiday is popular with businesses and singles. Many people treat themselves, buy something they want, or relax on this day.

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How to celebrate Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day

Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day has become commercialized, which is one cause for the enormous sales that take place on this day.

On Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day, singles in China plan parties. Young men first celebrated the festival, but now both men and women celebrate it. And people will attend blind date parties to get dates.

Some universities in China organize events to bring singles together for the holiday. So Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day is meant to celebrate being single. Still, China is a traditional nation, and young Chinese individuals often talk of hoping to find a life companion on this day.

While single individuals have a day to celebrate in China, Singles’ Day isn’t only about being single. It highlights as we will discuss in the next section, China’s increasing worldwide consumer power and influence and its growing economy.


A shopping day in China!

Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day has become a significant shopping day like Black Friday. However, the Chinese version is bigger than Black Friday. 

During the 24-hour long shopping event, huge discounts promote sales in stores, restaurants, and elsewhere. Fashion, technology, education, cuisine, and even real estate provide discounts. Online shopping plays an important role in what is happening on Singles’ Day.

In 2009, Alibaba was the first to offer Singles Day discounts. Soon, other shopping sites did the same. Alibaba’s sales on Singles’ Day 2021 were estimated to be 84,5 billion USD, up from 0.01 billion USD in 2009. 

It is estimated that Jingdong or JD.com sold for 51,56 USD on Singles Day in 2021, up from 18,78 billion USD during Singles Day in 2017. 

So it’s no wonder this Chinese holiday is becoming the biggest shopping day around the globe, including both online and physical stores.

Guānggùn jié 光棍节 Singles’ Day posters and ads in China often use the term shuāng shíyī 双十一, or “shuāng 双 11, “double 11.” 

Western brands and companies participate because they realize how vast the Chinese market is. On this day, small and large enterprises in China and other countries provide discounts!


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