Numbers have always played an important role in Chinese and India culture. While 4 which sounds very similar to the word for death is considered bad in China, 8 which sounds like fortune is revered and 9 which is akin to heaven is also auspicious, while 13 is a bad omen in India. So when the 11th of November, 2011 came rolling in today, Chinese and Indians both attach special significance to the day.
The second to last repetitive date of its kind this century—12/12/2012 being the last, has seen weddings and births both highly important ceremony’s in China and India being influenced by the supposed cosmic significance attached to this date. Although numerologists deny the fact that there is no cosmic connection, 11.11.11 is a date governed by the moon and associated with romance, fame and power.
In China, November 11 traditionally has been celebrated each year as an unofficial “Singles’ Day” since it was first created by a group of college students in Nanjing in the 1990s. The ones in the date represent “unattached sticks,” a Chinese term for single people.
Despite the date representing bachelorhood in popular culture, many couples are still looking at the date as an auspicious date to get married, interpreting the ones as signifying “the one,” China Daily reports.
Shanghai’s civil affairs authority had received more than 3,500 applications for registering marriages today, and in Nanjing there over 3,000 couples registering their marriages, more than 10 times the normal amount, according to Xinhua.
In India, in addition to a surge of weddings, many couples are inducing or delaying labor in hopes of having their child born on 11/11/11. Aishwariya Rai, the country’s hottest bollywood actor, who is expecting a baby with fellow leading actor Abhishek Bachchan also has millions betting on her auspicious delivery on this day. Indian astrologer Bejan Daruwala told India Today: “Eleven is the number of Jupiter, the Santa Claus of all planets. It gives honey as well as money,” he says.
“It is an attractive date, and if it is not unsafe to advance or postpone by a day or two, most couples would rather have their baby on this day. We are doing three such cases,” Dr. Preety Agarwal, senior gynecologist at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told the Times of India.
One Indian group is also organizing a seven-day yoga and music festival in the holy city of Rishikesh to mark this day. “For 13,000 years we have awaited this time,” says the group’s website.