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November 11, 2013 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Singles' Day, or 光棍节, began as a joke holiday invented by some lonely Chinese college students, an anti-Valentine's Day on which singles could either revel in their singledom or double down on attempts to hook up. November 11th was chosen for the date because of a simple visual pun on the slang term for bachelor: a "bare stick," symbolized by the date 11/11. But in a few short years, this joke holiday has become the biggest retail sales day on Earth, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. So, what do all the 'bare sticks' do on Singles' Day? It varies. Aside from eating four stick-shaped foods to symbolize the date, you could try one of these 11 ideas from Beijinger. Or watch this bizarre condom ad, featuring a compilation of animals having air sex.
posted by showbiz_liz (34 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
showbiz_liz: But in a few short years, this joke holiday has become the biggest retail sales day on Earth, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

It's stuff like this that makes you take a step back and marvel at the size of the Chinese market.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:40 PM on November 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's pretty cool. Had I known about it back when I was single, I'd have totally reveled in it.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:52 PM on November 11, 2013


Look, y'all, I love youtiao and baozi too but you don't need to make up a day just so you can eat them! Youtiao and baozi every day!
posted by kmz at 2:10 PM on November 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


This was all the push I needed to buy myself a present today. Thanks China! Thanks MeFi!
posted by janell at 2:14 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Interesting fact: Pepero Day, which is one of the holidays that exist which are wholly owned by a corporation, is a date holiday like Valentine's and is also on this day.
posted by curuinor at 2:17 PM on November 11, 2013


Speaking of, when I lived in northern Indiana for a while, I was really confused by Sweetest Day. Even more of a commercially manufactured holiday than Valentine's!
posted by kmz at 2:22 PM on November 11, 2013


Or in other words, Treat Yo' Self!

As far as I can tell, all holidays in East Asia that are not lunar calendar traditions (Harvest, New Year's) are date holidays. I remember friends telling me to book early for love motels on Christmas and be prepared to pay 3x as much because so many couples were planning on getting a room. So things like 11/11 or Black Day in Korea are nice reminders to party with your friends. Except then you have the giant blind date parties because society/your entire family still expect you to be coupled up.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:25 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Brought to you by Costington's: The Thing Downtown That's Open.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:27 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


That ad was very interesting to my kitten, who leapt onto my desk, peered intently at the animals thrusting away and then looked at me in disgust and jumped to the floor. He's of tender years, though, and is not as jaded as the average MeFite.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:31 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are dwarfed by the estimated $5bn from one single day of shopping in China.

no way

2012's black friday sales were 59.1 billion

(and no, the british stopped using long scale number names decades ago)
posted by pyramid termite at 2:50 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


no way

I believe this refers to online sales specifically, and the $5B number refers to a single retailer. From the NYTimes article on this subject: "On Monday, China’s biggest online shopping company processed more than $5.75 billion in its online payments system — a record for a single day anywhere in the world, surpassing by two and a half times the total for American retailers last year on so-called Cyber Monday."
posted by stopgap at 2:55 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah shit. Wasn't going to revel today but I guess I have to.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:56 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


well, it wasn't clearly written - it does beat the hell out of cyber monday
posted by pyramid termite at 2:58 PM on November 11, 2013


I once hooked up at a "Bitter Singles" event when I was in university. It - hoo, boy - didn't end well, but it was a hell of a night.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:01 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Imma go start a Pocky vs Pepero street brawl.

Pepero is better than Pocky, so you know.
posted by planetesimal at 3:01 PM on November 11, 2013


furthermore, i'm staying out of the woods - those animals look dangerous
posted by pyramid termite at 3:01 PM on November 11, 2013


It started as an Internet joke in Asia, so it reminds me of the Solo Regiment, which I'm surprised hasn't gotten an FPP of its own.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the serious side - you know, the idea of a holiday commemorating those who are single would be a fabulous thing here. There is SO much pressure on singletons to Match Up Or Else You Are A Loser that it makes all the people who are single by choice, or single-for-now due to fate, feel like we have big scarlet S's on us. A public acknowledgement that "y'know, actually, y'all are okay too" would be great.

On the not-so-serious side....the idea of a Singles' Day Drive-By Hookup doesn't sound all that bad right now...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:17 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pepero is better than Pocky

YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE WRONG

I mean they don't even have a green tea flavour.
posted by elizardbits at 3:21 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait till you have kids, then it's bare sticks all around amirite?
posted by clvrmnky at 3:22 PM on November 11, 2013


Soon this will be less of a celebration and more of an occasion for mourning, thanks to China's severe gender imbalance. Some of these single men will never be able to get married.
posted by armage at 3:28 PM on November 11, 2013


Forget Pepero or Pocky, Tact was where it was at! Though I haven't seen it at Uwajimaya in years.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:28 PM on November 11, 2013


Look, y'all, I love youtiao and baozi too but you don't need to make up a day just so you can eat them! Youtiao and baozi every day!

I want to, I just know it's not a sensible choice.
posted by Ramo at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2013


This was all the push I needed to buy myself a present today. Thanks China! Thanks MeFi!

The worst part of dating is that you have to get someone else to buy you presents.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2013


I should amend the above for safety, because my girlfriend reads Metafilter and she is excellent at buying gifts.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:34 PM on November 11, 2013


> Pepero is better than Pocky, so you know.

Are you talking about Japanese Pocky or Korean Pocky?
posted by needled at 3:56 PM on November 11, 2013


Pirouline are the best stick like crunchy/sweet snacks.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


although I guess any product with a flavour called NUDE LEMON CHEESE is worthy of merit
posted by elizardbits at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pepero is better than Pocky
...
[Pepero doesn't] even have a green tea flavour.


Nor do they have one that tastes like giant strawberries. Pocky clearly wins.
posted by aubilenon at 4:07 PM on November 11, 2013


Aw, if I'd caught this earlier I would have done all kinds of stick-based reveling! This is much better than my usual celebration of Cheap Chocolate for Spinsters Day on February 15.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:44 PM on November 11, 2013


The company I work for gave out single (heh) roses to all of the single women in the office, which I thought was a nice touch.
posted by lumensimus at 5:55 PM on November 11, 2013


Nobody's done this yet? Really?
posted by NedKoppel at 7:49 PM on November 11, 2013


Soon this will be less of a celebration and more of an occasion for mourning, thanks to China's severe gender imbalance. Some of these single men will never be able to get married.
posted by armage at 3:28 PM on November 11


The sex ratio in China may be an important issue, but it is not unprecedented.
...with respect to the sex selective abortion, traditionally China has always done away with 10% to 25% of its females, so there was always--not always but as much as we have data, and so there's always been an excess of males...

In the seventeenth century, again this is from Jesuit missionaries to China, reporting back to Europe, they were horrified to find that in Beijing along, Peking at the time, several thousand babies, almost exclusively females, were thrown into the streets like refuse to be collected each morning by carriers who dumped them into huge pits outside the city. It sounds very much like Europe of the similar time. What's interesting is that, right now, China is approaching pretty much the same female, with the sex selective infanticide, pretty the same female deficit that's been as far as we can tell a traditional level of it, but now there's all this moaning and groaning about all these unmarried males and how it will utterly disrupt Chinese society and it's a horrible sort of thing.

Also, I think I mentioned this before, as you've seen in Europe [in the 1600s] rather than 10% to 25% of the males not being able to get married because of the deficit of females, 40%, 50%, and 60% of the males did not get married in Europe.
So I guess I'm just saying, people have dealt with ratios like that before.
posted by Jacob Knitig at 12:12 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


True, but neither Europe in the 1600s not China before unification were particularly stable societies. An excess of males could easily lead to leaders drumming up an excuse to use them for national service (i.e. a war).
posted by armage at 2:02 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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