The world marked Friday's once-per-century 11/11/11 raining with wedding bells, grabbing lottery tickets and submitted prayers for peace and oneness. The day was also filled with humor, hope and a hint of mischief.
Couples from Shanghai to Jakarta to Moscow to Las Vegas flocked to registry offices and chapels to marry on Friday in the belief that the "11/11/11" date is among the most auspicious in a century -- and competition was fierce to lock in a wedding ceremony reservation at the magic hour of 11:11.
AdvertisementHotel manager Li Xue, 26, originally planned to marry in February next year, but she brought forward her plans because of the special day.
"We are getting married on the day of 'six ones'. We will no longer be single on the once-in-a-century singles' day," she told AFP, noting China's unofficial "singles day" is celebrated on November 11.
Thousands were trying their luck at married life in Las Vegas, with several chapels in Sin City packed to the rafters as lovebirds sought the chance to marry on such a memorable date.
"We started this morning at 6:30 am, and it's at least 150 (weddings) or maybe more by the end of the day," said an employee at the Little Church of the West who identified herself as Candice.
About 3,200 marriage license applications were filed for this week in Las Vegas, three times more than normal, a Clark County clerk told USA Today.
Chapels aren't the only institutions doing brisk business. Lottery ticket sales are expected to surge on Friday, with firms around the world capitalizing on the public's appreciation for a run of ones.
A Spanish charity for the blind named ONCE, which means 11 in Spanish, held a special lottery with 11 one-million-euro prizes and a super jackpot worth 11 million euros. All of its 13.5 million tickets sold out, organizers said Friday.
Earlier this week, the New York Lottery reportedly stopped issuing 1-1-1-1 tickets for its Win 4 challenge after purchases for that number maxed out.
"Lottery players are superstitious with their lucky numbers, and on a day like today its' likely that very many will pick 1-1-1-1," Carole Everett of the Maryland Lottery told AFP.
Why all the fuss over a set of digits?
Numerologists, Freemasons, occult groups and psychics see 11 as a master number, and a triple master number is seen as extra powerful. For decades, 11:11 has resonated with people focusing on the numbers when they see them on digital clocks.
Ellie Crystal, an author, psychic and metaphysical explorer, said she and her students in a class on the 11:11 phenomenon will "tune into global energies that began on the other side of the world and domino here to New York City."
Crystal and others see 11:11 as a pre-encoded trigger, an "awakening code" that could elevate consciousness.
One group reading between the lines is wearers of corduroy, whose raised ridges encapsulate the fabric's supreme elevenness.
"Corduroy Lovers. The 11/11/11 is upon us, the day that most closely resembles Corduroy. Let's celebrate by wearing as much Cord as possible!" wrote a Twitter user with the handle Corduroy Wines.
The New York-based Corduroy Appreciation Club is holding its "111111 Grandest Meeting" later Friday, and the event is sold out.
11:11 fans have taken to social media to promote Friday happenings such as dances, prayer ceremonies and oneness events in dozens of countries.
That may have spooked authorities in Egypt, where the Great Pyramid of Giza was closed on Friday to avoid any rituals by a group rumored to have plans to mark the date at the site.
The decision came "after much pressure" from Egyptian Internet users that strange rituals were going to be held "within the walls of the pyramid on November 11, 2011," Atef Abu Zahab, head of the Department of Pharaonic Archaeology, told AFP.
The elevens have aligned for Nigel Tufnel, the heavy metal guitarist in "This is Spinal Tap," who in the classic 1984 mockumentary showed how his amplifiers "go to 11."
But while the Nigel Tufnel Day Appreciation Society has been petitioning for months to have November 11, 2011 christened Nigel Tufnel Day, as of mid-day Friday no government appeared to have granted them their wish.