November 11, 2011


"On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour..."

Today, the famous proclamation of Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day) can add another line to its introduction.. "on the eleventh year." 

Ok, so the 11th year may be a bit of a stretch, but today marks a lot of perceived numerical importance for people around the world. There are reports of a huge influx of weddings around the planet, especially in Asia. According to this Wall Street Journal article, thousands of couples wed in China and Malaysia because this date is auspiciously romantic. 

"The numbers rhyme with one husband, one wife and on soul in Chinese and signifies a marriage that would last a lifetime," said nurse Pua Kim Giok, 25, who tied the knot with engineer Lee chin Siong, 27. They were among 460 couples who got married at popular Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur. (Wall Street Journal)

In contrast to all the weddings in Asia, 11/11 marks the antithesis of Valentine's Day, it's singles day. Last year all my students congratulated me when they found out I was single and they even gave me a standing ovation in one of my classes. Some of my Chinese friends even invited me to KTV to sing away my sorrow at karaoke. Friends often give each other small chocolates or flowers, just like Valentine's Day, except all the gifts go to single people in an act of solidarity. The guys don't really get in to it as much as the girls, some of the ladies get quite upset they're spending the day solo. It didn't have much effect on me.

In Egypt, the auspicousness (is that a word?) of the day brought fear that unauthorized rituals might be held in the Giza pyramids. Officials were concerned that certain groups may be drawn to the pyramids to gather any special energy that would be sent to them on this special date. They closed down the pyramids today because of concerns, but told the public it was due to "maintenance" work, according to this Huffington Post article.

And finally, I have to give a nod to Spinal Tap. Today is "Nigel Tufnel" day, in honor of the rocker whose amp went one past 10, so he could take his sound to 11. Watch your ear drums, folks.

For other 11/11/11 goodies, check this top 11 list from ABC News full of random facts about today.

I feel like every triple-digit date since 2000 has been full of special significance. 07/07/07 and 08/08/08 were especially big wedding dates -- "Lucky Number 7," and 8 as the sign for infinity. Next December is bound to be loaded with all sorts of meaning generated from numbers: 12/12/12 and of course, the day the world is supposedly going to end 12/21/12. 

If you do nothing else today, make a wish at 11:11 (for good measure) and please, thank a Veteran.

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