Depending on where you live around the globe, you may be celebrating Remembrance or Armistice Day today. If you're in the US, it's Veterans' Day. China has its own designs for the 11th day of the 11th month, a culture that's all about auspicious numbers and symbolism.
Rest easy, panda friend. Singles' Day is here!
The name sounds like an unromantic counter-culture, no? It is in part, perhaps originally at least, a sort of celebration or at least recognition for those many millions around China who've not got a significant other, no love interest, or no outlet for their romantic intentions.
Auspiciously, the 11th day of the 11th month features a lot of the number one, doesn't it! As I understand the initial intent, it was a sort of collective youth group out of Nanjing who designated their own ironic celebration - in China, they've not only adopted the 14th of February but they have a sort of word-play for the 20th of May which also celebrates romance... the pronunciation of the date sounds a bit like the words for "I love you".
These days, Singles' Day has grown into a monster of marketing. Alibaba and a number of other ecommerce behemoths have made their own anti-romantic ritual, flooding the digital space behind the Great Firewall of China (more on that another day) with unreal promotions.
The annual retail sales from these bargain basement rates regularly top US$30 billion in a single 24 hour period. It's unreal.
Less obvious outcomes can manifest as increased load times and a generally slow online experience as nearly a billion people smash their phones and keyboards, trying to complete as many purchases as possible during the brief promotional period.
I figure that it also leads to an awful lot of buyer's remorse, with people panicking to complete purchases like they're buying Taylor Swift ticket for their pre-teen daughters off of TicketMaster...