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Why Facebook is Celebrating Its IPO With a Hackathon

Facebook isn't losing its commitment to its "Hacker" culture when it goes public — instead, it's celebrating it, with an all-night "Hackathon."

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Joel Saget | AFP | Getty Images
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Other companies might celebrate doing one of the biggest IPOs on record with a big party with food, alcohol and dancing. This party will have plenty of food and DJ, but instead of dancing, Facebook employees will be hunkering down and coding new programs for Facebook.

Over 1,000 Facebook employees at the Menlo Park headquarters have RSVPed for the event which starts at 7:00 pm PT and will go all night until CEO Mark Zuckerberg rings the opening bell at 6:30 am PT.

It's not just Facebook's main office participating — people at the company's satellite offices around the globe will also take a break from their regular work to play in this hackathon. And Facebook will send out "Hackathon 31" T-shirts to its employees around the world.

Here's what will happen: everyone will gather around the large yellow crane brought over from Facebook's last headquarters for a pre-hackathon pep talk of sorts from one of Facebook's engineers. There will be a big spread of food and drink, a DJ piping music through the campus, and then everyone will get to work on a project that's different from their day job.

The idea is to hunker down and create something — a new product for Facebook. Hackathons started out for engineers, but as Facebook's staff has expanded to include advertising execs, etc, the company has expanded the definition — so, employees might create a new video or even paint a mural somewhere on Facebook's campus.

Facebook is particularly fond of one example of a product created during a hackathon — the "Like" button, as well as Facebook chat.

Sources at Facebook tell me that in the company's earliest days when it would roll out to a new college Zuckerberg and the company's other early employees would go on what they called "lock down," staying up all night to finish the details for the new college.

-By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
@JBoorstin