Continued from page 1

In Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Ross Valone, an obstetrician-gynecologist, will refund any fees he collects from delivering babies Friday. In Bellevue, Wash., Jason Brown will open his new grocery store at 11:11 a.m.

Vikki MacKinnon, a numerologist in Calgary, Ontario, said she expected the day to be a “cosmic wake-up call.”

“Eleven is a number of illumination and enlightenment, a number of insight, blinding flashes of the obvious, and a number of transformation,” she said.

The Chinese have always had a fascination with number sequences.

And in a country where ages of first marriages are creeping upward, the 11/11/11 date represents six “bare sticks,” a term for bachelors in Chinese.

And there are now more of them, with housing prices, focus on jobs and growing independence of young women meaning people are getting married later.

“It’s just difficult for men to afford the housing prices nowadays, and traditionally in China that is the responsibility of the man his family. I feel a lot of pressure from this,” said Zheng An, a 26-year-old employee at a solar company in Shanghai.

___

Associated Press writers Michael Crumb in Des Moines, Iowa, Tim Talley in Oklahoma City, Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, N.J., Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Fu Ting in Shanghai, and Ben Hubbard in Cairo contributed to this report.