- 11/11/11 happens once every 100 years
- Some people think it's a lucky day
- Others say people in the digital age are just more keenly attuned to numbers
- Weddings are planned but so are somber remembrances of war
In the middle of cake and presents last year, Lynsie Schuman had a revelation about her twins. They were destined to celebrate their golden birthday on a special day -- "ones" in a lifetime, so to speak.
Kyra and Tyler are turning 11 on 11/11/11.
"It's pretty cool," said Kyra, who will be leaving her native Wisconsin for Cancun, Mexico, with her family for a special celebration. Not just because she will probably not see another 11/11/11 in her lifetime, but because of her grandpa, Philip Schuman, who served in Vietnam.
"It's Veterans Day," Kyra said.
People around the world have made special plans for Friday. Think of when the clock strikes 11:11:11 on 11/11/11. A perfect palindrome -- the time and date reading the same backwards and forwards -- and the only double-figure palindromic date.
And 11/11/11 won't come around again for another 100 years.
Wake Forest University Physicist Eric Carlson, who studies numbers as a hobby, said the date has no significance other than its numeric perfection, marred only by the use of all four numbers of the year 2011. Consider the uniqueness of the day in 1111.
The way Carlson looks at it, people can take whatever they want from the date.
"I have no problem with Americans celebrating the day," he said. Just like he did on the day he turned 1 billion -- seconds, that is. Only a numbers guru would do something like that.
If some folks consider 11 lucky, so be it. Just as 13 (the number of people present at the Last Supper before Jesus' death) is thought of as unlucky. But it's still just a number. You might not want to sit on the 13th row in an airplane, but would you turn down the 13th roll in a baker's dozen?
Carlson said part of the reason times and dates are heightened in people's minds is because of the digital age -- phone numbers, passwords, PINS. So many numbers to remember.
"Such phenomena involving numbers have become much more prominent," he said.
And human brains are naturally inclined to look for patterns. If you look at an analog clock, you might not notice 11:11 as much as you would on a digital one with four lighted numerals, all the same, staring at you.
"These patterns stick in our minds," Carlson said. "But I don't think there is any mystical significance to it."
But if you ask Daniel Hardt, president of Life Path Numerology Center in Indianapolis, 11/11/11 is sure to be different.
"It's going to be a powerful day. No question about it," said Hardt, a numerologist who deals with numbers as symbols of energy of the universe. "Any time you add intensity of the same number, it's going to have some effect."
So, on Friday, your dreams could be more vivid or you could be more on edge, Hardt said.
"People will experience their emotions more," he said.
Those who are happy, well, they'll be more happy, he said. And those who are having a pity party will have a doozy. That's the world according to Hardt.
So, if you are visiting the grave of a loved one on Veteran's Day or attending an emotional war remembrance ceremony, take extra tissues, he said.
Conversely, it's a good day for love, and Las Vegas chapels will be busting at the seams with couples wanting to tie the knot on 11/11/11.
Chapel of the Flowers on average marries 20 to 30 couples a day. But Friday, it has about 80 planned, said Aimee Stephens, the marketing director.
Every ceremony is a half-hour process, so the two chapels, their ministers and staff will be going full steam all day Friday.
"We have been prepared for this," Stephens said. "People seem to love these numeric occurrences."
Although, she said, she's not sure whether it's the romance of the date or a matter of making sure that a husband never forgets an anniversary. Kinda hard not to remember 11/11/11.
Tiffany Masters, known as the queen of nightlife in Sin City, is planning what she billed as the world's largest reception Friday night to mark all the 11/11/11 weddings in Vegas.
She's opening the doors at the Tropicana for the couples who have nowhere special to go after saying, "I do."
She said her research showed that about 75,000 people were getting married in America on Friday, many of them in Vegas. As of Wednesday, 3,400 couples had signed up.
The Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, which specializes in Elvis Presley ministers, anticipates performing more than 300 weddings Friday.
"A few years ago, the lucky number was 7/7/7," the chapel said on its website. "Throwing a 7 or an 11 is considered to be lucky in Las Vegas. 2007's 7/7/7 was a huge day for Viva Las Vegas weddings, with a record 160 weddings performed that day. Numeric configurations have only become more popular. 2010 brought us 205 happy couples for 10-10-10 weddings and this year, we already have a whopping 170 ceremonies in progress for 11/11/11. By the time the day is over, we anticipate performing over 300 wedding ceremonies for 11/11/11!"
But 11/11/11 has not always been a day of luck.
The last time there was such a date, in 1911, a Great Blue Norther cold front swept the central United States, plunging temperatures in some states from record highs to record lows, and even blizzard conditions in some areas.
Springfield, Missouri, recorded a high of 80°F before the cold front. By midnight, the temperature plunged to a record low of 13°F.
The drastic change in weather led some to believe supernatural powers had taken hold on 11/11/11.
Darren Bousman's new film "11-11-11," being released Friday, is about an American author plagued by strange happenings and constant sightings of the number 11. Joseph soon realizes that 11/11/11 is more than just a date, says the director's website. It's a warning.
Others see the day as one of harmony.
A group of friends were inspired to celebrate the extraordinary date like New Year's Eve. It morphed into something much bigger. The "Ones in a Lifetime" event is linking people and organizations online to promote peace and unity.
Other things happening Friday:
Verizon Wireless is launching its new Droid Razr at 11:11 a.m. 11/11/11.
Daniel Ortega, freshly re-elected president of Nicaragua, will celebrate his 66th birthday. Others born on this day include actors Demi Moore and Leonardo DiCaprio, author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and cult killer Charles Manson.
So there you have it. You can make what you want of 11/11/11.
But perhaps Masters, the Vegas socialite, said it best: "One is such a lonely number. It's nice when you have two ones together."
Even better, perhaps, when you have six.