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In a calendar I saw this in reference to the Children's Day:

快乐“六一”
Happy Children's Day!

I guess 六一 is a shorter form of 6月1日.

Is that form of writing dates only used for special dates? How widespread is that usage?

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Happy Childrens' Day is "六一快乐." –  gonnastop May 29 '12 at 14:10
    
@gonnastop You got it. I thought the OP's example sounded a little weird. –  deutschZuid May 29 '12 at 22:14
    
@gonnastop Maybe the translation was wrong. What's the English version of 快乐“六一”? Or is just plain wrong and must be written like you said in your comment? –  dusan May 30 '12 at 0:23
    
@dusan By 快乐“六一” do you mean "a happy Childrens' Day"? As in "I had a very happy/pleasant Childrens' Day with my parents"? Then that would be “我和爸爸妈妈度过了一个快乐的六一.” If not, “六一快乐” is "Happy Childrens' Day." –  gonnastop May 30 '12 at 1:43
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This form of abbreviation is only reserved for special dates. Some popular Chinese holidays take this abbreviated form:

  • 六一 == 儿童节
  • 十一 == 国庆节
  • 五一 == 劳动节

Any date can potentially become "special" following a major event or incident that occurred on that date or for a short period of time surrounding the said date. The abbreviated form is, therefore, used to identify the event:

  • 四一二讲话 the speech made on April 12th or the April 12th speech

This is predicated on the fact that the listener is fully aware of both the date and the event in question. The abbreviated form would be meaningless otherwise.

A dot, "·", may be added between the month and the day in writing, especially when there is a possible ambiguity:

  • 一·二四 January 24th
  • 一二·四 December 4th

The reading stays the same, however.

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another example (and one we use in American English, too) is 九一一 == 9/11 == Sept 11 –  Kang Ming Jun 6 '12 at 6:17
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