Thought Valentine's Day is a tad overdone? Tired of seeing couples going all mushy-mushy? Then here's a breather for you. Wait till you learn about the Chinese `Singles Day`.
So, here's a day finally dedicated to people who are gloriously single. Today happens to be a `singles day` for the people in China, who are yet to get hitched. November 11 (11/11) is recognised as Singles day in China and is considered to be holiday in the country.
Singles Day literally means bare sticks, in China. The idea behind 'Singles Day' started as a cheeky antidote to Valentine's Day, which represents four single people. On the day, it's common to exchange gifts and eat fried dough strips -- kind of churro -- because it looks like the number "1."
The belief underlying this date is the connection between singles and the only lonely number 1.
It is surprisingly refreshing to know that China dedicates this day in full-swing to actively take part in the festivities related. The young brigade is seen hitting the karaoke bars and partying hard with their friends to mark this day.
The idea behind this is simple- to meet new people, broaden their horizons or hoping to finally meet someone.
People shop religiously and markets witness a higher amount of sales than experienced on normal days. I like this idea. Spoil yourself by shopping singles! That's a novelty, the singles indulge in without any second thoughts.
For the uninitiated, Bachelor's Day or Single's Day was initially a part of Nanjing University in 1993. And then gradually it affected the rest.
At first it was called a Bachelor's day but later on when the rest of the masses irrespective of their age joined the popular cult--it became the Singles Day.
People take part in all activities in order to bid farewell to singledom- and that includes even blind dates. Yes, although the idea sounds absurd but that doesn't dampen the spirits of the young budding hearts.
That's just not about it. The schools and universities too have special segment earmarked for this day.
There is a program organised which brings together all singles for celebrations. (Who wouldn't want to be put in such school?) Chinese sure know how to have all the fun.
2011 marked the "Singles Day of the Century" (Shiji Guanggun Jie), as this date had six "ones" rather than four— This accelerated shopping and other activities to a higher level.
What's more amusing is the fact that this particular day, which was ideally started to celebrate singlehood, slowly shifted its motto. Now, this day also sees a wide number of people expressing their desires to get hitched or find a partner.
Interestingly, this year, a love-struck young lad bought 99 iPhone 6s and made a heart shaped ring with them around his girlfriend in China. Hold your horses if you expecting a fairy tale ending! The girl denied and all his efforts went down the drain. (Yes, people can get really crazy for Singles Day there) This poor guy only wanted to break his single status before this year’s celebrations on Singles Day. But alas!
Love-related issues and romantic pitfalls find their space in the Chinese media. Many of them now celebrate this holiday, finding their ways to highlight the day.
Many also find it ideal to tie the knot on November 11. In 2011, an above-average number of marital celebrations occurred in Hong Kong and Beijing this day.
Beliefs and rituals associated with `Singles Day` may vary from generation to generation but the ideal remains the same. It's a day filled with fun and frolic and the Chinese are in no hurry to change this.
With time, this day also commemorates the online shopping festival in China- November 11- and the company which targets mainly the youngsters sells goods worth millions.
I could think of a million ways to kickstart a practice similar to singles day. It would be a welcoming relief from the drone of the regular Valentine's Day extravaganza.