Guang Gun Jie
, 光棍节, commonly referred to as “Singles’ Day
” in English, is a quirky little Chinese holiday
which has picked up serious steam in recent years. Literally translated as “Bare Branch Holiday,” it implies that sorry single saplings in China will bear no fruit. While that may sound like a rather depressing analogy, it appears China’s rising fleets of barren trees have found a way to cope with their solitude – by shopping!
Celebrated on November 11 – due to the preponderance of “1’s” in 11.11 which make it sound like the loneliest day of the year – Guang Gun Jie has basically become the Black Friday of the Chinese commercial world. According to the FT, sales on Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce group, had already clocked over 5 billion USD by midnight this Singles’ Day, topping last year’s record of 3 billion. Singles (and shopping savvy non-singles) enjoyed deep discounts on a motley variety of items, from computer games to “boyfriend pillows,” – oblong, human-sized pillows optimally shaped for snuggling and spooning.
Common snacks on Guan Gun Jie include you tiao – Chinese deep fried dough sticks, and Pocky Sticks – chocolate-coated biscuit sticks from Japan, both which resemble number 1 in shape. The latter are often gifted among friends, as playful, edible odes to their singlehood.
Far from being the dreary day its name might imply, Guang Gun Jie is, more than anything, a celebration of a status most Chinese hope will be temporary.
Chaoji Shengnü couldn’t help but stir up a bit of her usual mischief this holiday season:
Sitting and eating Pocky Sticks all on my own
Man: May I have one?
Leftover woman: Okay.
Oh no, they’ve fallen on the ground!
It looks like our only choice is to eat the last one together.
Want to be friends with a superheroine? Chaoji Shengnü is now on Facebook!
Translated by Alicia Zhang.