This year, Black Friday is being observed today, November 24.
Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States and several stores offer significant discounts and promotions on this day. It is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the country. Every year, Black Friday falls a day after the festival of Thanksgiving, the traditional US holiday where people express gratitude over a delicious meal with traditional delicacies like roast turkey apart from other dishes. This year, Black Friday is being observed today.
The term "Black Friday" originally referred to the day when retailers would shift from being in the red (operating at a loss) to being in the black (making a profit). However, over time, the day evolved into a major shopping event characterized by large crowds, long store hours, and extensive promotions both in physical stores and online.
But the annual retail event is still arguably shrouded in little mystery. So, here are a few little-known facts about the day:
Origin of Black Friday
According to Fox News, the first time the term "Black Friday" was used on a national level came in September 1869. But, it wasn't in reference to holiday shopping. Citing Encylopedia Britannica, the outlet reported that the term was used to describe American Wall Street financiers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who bought up a significant portion of the nation's gold to drive up the price.
The pair weren't able to re-sell the gold at the inflated profit margins they planned for and their business venture was unveiled on September 24, 1869. "The scheme ultimately came to light on that Friday in September, throwing the stock market into rapid decline and bankrupting everybody from Wall Street millionaires to poor citizens," said Lyle David Solomon, a bankruptcy attorney at Oak View Law Group.
Another tale refers to a time back in the early 1960s when Philadelphia police officers used the phrase "Black Friday" to describe the chaos that ensued from suburban visitors coming to the city for holiday shopping. The huge crowds that swarmed the city created headaches for the Philadelphia police who were compelled to work longer shifts to deal with traffic accidents and shoplifting. Within a few years, the phrase "Black Friday" was being used in the local community despite retailers trying to positively twist the name by referring to it as "Big Friday". It wasn't until the late 1980s, that merchants started to spread the red-to-black story for Black Friday, according to Britannica.
Black Friday in other countries
The United States is not the only country that celebrates Black Friday. Citing a digital analytics and SEO marketing firm, Fox News reported that more than 10 countries observe the annual holiday shopping event. The countries that observe Black Friday include Canada, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Black Friday sale
For more than 60 years, Black Friday has been one of the busiest days for retail stores and holiday shoppers. But in recent times, the event has gotten larger with early or extended Black Friday sales. Retail stores have followed up Black Friday sales with Cyber Monday and Cyber Week events where shoppers can make holiday purchases exclusively online.
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