What is Singles’ Day? Chinese holiday celebrates people not in relationships

Singles’ Day has become one of the biggest days of the year for retailers  (Ginger Ray)
Singles’ Day has become one of the biggest days of the year for retailers (Ginger Ray)

There’s a special version of Valentine’s Day that is only celebrated by single people.

Singles’ Day, celebrated every November 11, was initially intended as a jab at those in committed relationships but it quickly evolved into a day with a message about loving yourself and appreciating the people in your life.

The significance of the day is to celebrate the idea of happiness and loving yourself. Whether you’re happily single or in a committed relationship, Singles’ Day comes as the perfect opportunity for you to treat yourself to some well-deserved self-love.

Read on to find out how Singles’ Day became a thing and how it is celebrated.

What is Singles’ Day?

It is a Chinese commercial event that helps single people show their pride in being single. The holiday started off as a paean to being single by a group of students at China’s Nanjing University. They specifically chose November 11 since the numeral one represents single people in internet slang. It quickly developed into a joyful, unofficial holiday where single people indulge in beautiful dinners and splurge on items they ordinarily wouldn't purchase for themselves.

From those modest beginnings, Singles’ Day has grown to become the most lucrative online shopping day in the world, with sales as high as $25bn (£21bn) in 2017.

In 2009, Chinese retailer Alibaba was one of the first to launch a Singles’ Day event to coincide with the holiday. Although it’s not an official holiday, it is celebrated throughout China and is gaining popularity across the world.

Usually on this day singles are self-indulge and treat themselves to presents, fine meals or a night out. This is one of the main drivers behind the huge sales created each year on this day.

For 24 hours shops, restaurants and countless establishments offer discounts even in the UK.