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National Single’s Day in China


Holidays are one of the most essential embodiments of a region’s culture. Some traditional holidays have brewed throughout history, while some modern holidays are indicating the new emerging facets of culture. If you’re a Chinese language learner, you must have heard of some traditional Chinese holidays such as the Chinese New Year. However, today we’re going to introduce an off-the-beaten-path holiday called Singles’ Day.

What? You’ve only heard of Valentine’s Day? Well, now you’re going to open your eyes. China’s Singles’ Day became a fad in recent years, originally in an attempt to celebrate single people. Now, it has evolved into a big shopping holiday

Want to know more about it? No problem. We’ve got everything you need here about China’s Singles’ Day!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. How Did Singles’ Day Start?
  2. How Did it Become a Shopping Festival?
  3. Singles’ Day Vocabulary
  4. Conclusion

1. How Did Singles’ Day Start?

Man lying on a sofa

Tired of being jealous of people who can celebrate Valentine’s Day? Now it’s single people’s turn!

Singles’ Day in Chinese is 光棍节 (guāng gùn jié), which literally means “single stick day.” It’s a single-awareness day among young Chinese people. This non-official national Singles’ Day originated from college students at Nanjing University in 1993 in an attempt to celebrate their pride in singledom as opposed to being part of a couple on Valentine’s Day. 

So when is Chinese Singles’ Day? Because the date 11/11 resembles four single sticks that indicate being solitary, November 11th was agreed to be the proper Singles’ Day. 

Interestingly, it has become trendy for many young people to confess their feelings for people they like on Singles’ Day! Guess why? Because if it ever works out, then they can finally end their journey of being single exactly on Singles’ Day and start a romantic date right after!

Binge-shopping on Singles' Day

2. How Did it Become a Shopping Festival?

Singles’ Day has now been transformed from an “anti-Valentine’s Day” into the biggest online shopping day worldwide. This idea was triggered by Alibaba back in 2009 and people have embraced it ever since. The Chinese Singles’ Day Alibaba paved the way for also encourages single people’s inner pride by providing them with such perks.

A version of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, also known as the Double Eleven Shopping Day, was created by offering prodigious discounts for twenty-four hours mainly through Alibaba-operated platforms such as Taobao, as well as some other big competitors that integrated Alibaba’s idea. It’s much like American’s Black Friday, but the Singles’ Day shopping festival is more E-commerce-focused and has a larger scale due to the huge Chinese population. 

Now you know why many people can’t wait for the exciting Double Eleven Shopping Day to clean their cart and buy all of their favorite products they’ve been waiting a long time for! If you ever want to get these good deals on China’s Singles’ Day, remember to have some good Wi-Fi service and try to get your desired items exactly at the time the sale starts. Otherwise, your website may crash due to the large demand and you’ll end up getting nothing!

3. Singles’ Day Vocabulary

Love phrases

1- Words about Relationships

Single dog – 单身狗 (dān shēn gǒu)

Meaning: Someone who is single and sad

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我今年还是一只单身狗。

Pinyin: Wǒ jīn nián hái shì yī zhī dān shēn gǒu.

In English: I am still a single dog this year.

A single noble – 单身贵族 (dān shēn guì zú)

Meaning: Someone who is single and proud

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我想一直做个单身贵族,无拘无束。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yī zhí zuò gè dān shēn guì zú, wú jū wú shù. 

In English: I just wanted to be a single noble all the time and keep myself free.

Single stick – 光棍 (guāng gùn)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我已经做了快二十年的光棍,真希望可以快点找到自己的另一半。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng zuò le kuài èr shí nián de guāng gùn, zhēn xī wàng kě yǐ kuài diǎn zhǎo dào zì jǐ de lìng yī bàn. 

In English: I have been a single stick for almost twenty years; I really hope to find my other half as soon as possible.

Not single anymore – 脱单 (tuō dān)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 今年的我终于不用再过光棍节了,因为我已经脱单啦!

Pinyin: Jīn nián de wǒ zhōng yú bú yòng zài guò guāng gùn jié le, yīn wèi wǒ yǐ jīng tuō dān la! 

In English: Finally, I won’t have to go through Singles’ Day this year, because I am not single anymore!

Couple at a restaurant

Public display of affection (PDA) – 秀恩爱 (xiù ēn ài)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我朋友总是在公共场合秀恩爱。 

Pinyin: Wǒ péng yǒu zǒng shì zài gōng gòng chǎng hé xiù ēn ài.

In English: My friend always likes to show public displays of affection.

Eat dog food – 吃狗粮 (chī gǒu liáng)

Meaning: A single person who suffers from other people’s public displays of affection.

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 看来我今年情人节又要吃狗粮了。

Pinyin: Kàn lái wǒ jīn nián qíng rén jié yòu yào chī gǒu liáng le. 

In English: It seems like I will have to eat dog food again on this year’s Valentine’s Day.

2- Chinese Singles’ Day Shopping Vocabulary

Sign up – 注册 (zhù cè)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我刚刚注册了一个淘宝的账号。

Pinyin: Wǒ gāng gāng zhù cè le yī gè táo bǎo de zhàng hào. 

In English: I just signed up for an account on Taobao.

Coupon – 优惠券 (yōu huì quàn)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我终于领到了优惠券,可以用来买我购物车里的东西。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhōng yú lǐng dào le yōu huì quàn, kě yǐ yòng lái mǎi wǒ gòu wù chē lǐ de dōng xi. 

In English: I finally got coupons, which I can use to buy the products in my shopping cart.

Sales sign

Aren’t sales the best things ever?

Sale – 促销 (cù xiāo)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 每次我都会等到商场大促销再去购物。 

Pinyin: Měi cì wǒ dōu huì děng dào shāng chǎng dà cù xiāo zài qù gòu wù. 

In English: I always wait to shop until there is a big sale in the mall.

Online shopping – 网上购物 (wǎng shàng gòu wù)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 网上购物真方便。

Pinyin: Wǎng shàng gòu wù zhēn fāng biàn. 

In English: Online shopping is so convenient.

Double Eleven Shopping Day (11/11 Shopping Day) – 双十一购物节 (shuāng shí yī gòu wù jié)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我打算等到了双十一购物节再买购物车里的这些东西。

Pinyin: Wǒ dǎ suàn děng dào le shuāng shí yī gòu wù jiē zài mǎi gòu wù chē lǐ de zhè xiē dōng xi. 

In English: I am going to wait to clear my cart until Double Eleven Shopping Day.

The same style as internet celebrities’ – 网红同款 (wǎng hóng tóng kuǎn)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我们店有很多网红同款的宝贝。

Pinyin: Wǒ men diàn yǒu hěn duō wǎng hóng tóng kuǎn de bǎo bèi. 

In English: Lots of products in our store are in the same style as internet celebrities’.

Shipping fees included – 包邮 (bāo yóu)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 每个人都很享受买东西包邮这项服务。 

Pinyin: Měi gè rén dōu hěn xiǎng shòu mǎi dōng xi bāo yóu zhè xiàng fú wù. 

In English: Everyone enjoys free shipping when they buy something.

People with smiling boxes on their heads

Remember to give your seller a thumbs-up if you are happy with your purchase.

Positive feedback – 好评 (hǎo píng)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 如果您对我们的服务满意的话,请给我们一个好评吧。

Pinyin: Rú guǒ nín duì wǒ men de fú wù mǎn yì de huà, qǐng gěi wǒ men yī gè hǎo píng ba. 

In English: If you are happy with our service, please give us positive feedback.

Negative feedback – 差评 (chà píng)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我刚从这家店买的东西,几天就坏了,于是我毫不犹豫地给了他们一个差评。 

Pinyin: Wǒ gāng cóng zhè jiā diàn mǎi de dōng xi, jǐ tiān jiù huài le, yú shì wǒ háo bù yóu yù de gěi le tā men yī gè chà píng. 

In English: I just bought a product from this store, and it broke within just a couple of days. Thus I gave them negative feedback without any hesitance.

Store – 店铺 (diàn pù)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 这家护肤品店铺的宝贝又便宜又好用。

Pinyin: Zhè jiā hù fū pǐn diàn pù de bǎo bèi yòu pián yí yòu hǎo yòng. 

In English: The skincare products from this store are inexpensive and of good quality.

Limited to one store only – 独家 (dú jiā)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 这件衣服是我们店独家设计的。 

Pinyin: Zhè jiàn yī fú shì wǒ men diàn dú jiā shè jì de. 

In English: The design of this piece of clothing is limited to our store only.

New arrival – 新品 (xīn pǐn)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 听说这家店会在今年双十一上很多新品呢。 

Pinyin: Tīng shuō zhè jiā diàn huì zài jīn nián shuāng shí yī shàng hěn duō xīn pǐn ne. 

In English: I heard that this store will have many new arrivals on 11/11 this year.

Products – 宝贝 (bǎo bèi)

Usage in a sentence:

In Chinese: 我们家的宝贝质量都很好。 

Pinyin: Wǒ men jiā de bǎo bèi zhì liàng dōu hěn hǎo. 

In English: All the products in our store have great quality.

4. Conclusion

Now that you have a good understanding of China’s Singles’ Day, whether you’re single or not, remember to take advantage of it to get a good deal on this special shopping day! Are there any products or items you’ve been wanting to buy? Now’s the time! 

We also have free Chinese lessons released every week so that you can have a free try! What are you waiting for? Study now on with the most updated and culturally relevant lessons, and the most knowledgeable and energetic hosts, to have the experience of a lifetime!

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