Singles Day, also known as bare sticks holiday or 11/11 holiday, occurs every year on November 11 and it’s the perfect time to treat yourself. What started as a day to celebrate and see the joy of being single has since become the largest shopping holiday of the year worldwide.
Singles Day should not be confused with other holidays of a similar theme, such as National Singles Day that’s celebrated on the last Saturday of September, and Singles Awareness Day which takes place on February 15.
Origin of Singles Day
While the origins of Singles Day do indeed come from an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration of being single as you might think, the holiday has evolved as it gained popularity over time. The Chinese holiday was started in 1993 by students studying at Nanjing University in China who wanted to create a day to celebrate being romantically unattached, or in other words, single. The premise of the holiday was simply to show pride and solidarity in being single.
Singles Day always falls on November 11, and the date is no coincidence, either. The date was specifically chosen due to the symbol that 11/11 represents 4 single ones, or multiple sticks, side-by-side. This is where the holiday’s name of ‘bare sticks holiday’ or ‘single sticks holiday’ originates. Singles Day in Chinese is written as ???, which translates to Singles’ Holiday.
How do we celebrate Singles Day?
The fun and pampering aspect of Singles Day grew in popularity with people taking the opportunity to use the holiday to treat themselves to fine meals, and new clothes, among other luxury and lavish purchases that they otherwise wouldn’t usually make. The then CEO of the Chinese online shopping website Alibaba, Daniel Zhang, was among the first to see the commercial potential of creating a Singles Day sale back in 2009.
Over the years, the trend has caught on worldwide with many retailers other than Alibaba also jumping on the bandwagon, such as fashion brand Uniqlo, offering flash 11/11 sales for 24 hours starting at midnight on November 11. The United States is also no exception to this, with roughly a quarter of retailers reportedly participating in Singles Day USA sales. This eventually lead to Singles Day becoming the largest online shopping day of the year with staggering sales amounting to billions of dollars, surpassing both Black Friday and Cyber Monday put together.
Some might notice similarities between Singles Day and Prime Day, which was created similarly to Alibaba but by e-commerce giant Amazon. Similarly, Prime Day also has online flash sales that last only 24 hours.
The online success of Singles Day sales in 2020 is likely attributed to the coronavirus pandemic which saw many more people staying at home and online shopping rather than taking their business to the high street.
While there’s a common trend with many who see contrasting Valentine’s Day as nothing more than a commercial holiday that exists only to get us to spend money, Singles Day has become very much just that and there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to try and disguise it as a commercially created holiday that overtly encourages us to shop. Despite this, the fundamentals of the way we celebrate Singles Day remain the same for many – ensuring that no matter our relationship status we celebrate our friends, family, and most importantly, ourselves.
Facts about Singles Day:
Singles Day was invented in 1993 by students, but it wasn’t until 2009 that we saw the holiday take on a different form with its first online sale.
It was created to celebrate singledom, as a contrast to Valentine’s Day which celebrates the union of couples, relationships, and love.
The date was chosen as 11/11 represents 4 single, lone sticks.
It has become the biggest shopping event worldwide, even bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Traditionally, Singles Day is a 24-hour-only shopping event.