The “unofficial” start of the holiday season shopping spree is called Black Friday. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is well known to both shoppers and retailers as there are promotional sales events to begin the Christmas shopping frenzy.
In the commonwealth nations such as United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, there is a term called “Boxing Day” which is traditionally the day after Christmas when all the major sales happen. The day is called “Boxing Day” because in the past, tradesman and servants/housekeepers/maids/gardeners, etc would receive a “Christmas Box” (a gift) from their employers and bosses.
Have you ever wondered why the name for the shopping day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday”?
There are many different theories of why it is called “Black Friday”. One explanation goes back to 1961 where police and local authorities in Philadelphia dubbed the term Black Friday due to the problems and traffic jams that a mad rush of shoppers caused on the streets in order to get the best sales and discounts in different stores.
In a Philadelphia publication dated in 1966, it stated:
“JANUARY 1966 – “Black Friday” is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season in Center City, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.”
Another theory as to why the day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” has to do with retailers’ accounting practices. Traditionally, retailers operate at a financial loss for most of the year (also known as being “in the red”). It isn’t until the holiday season (starting in November) where most retailers start making a profit (also known as being “in the black”). To state it in simpler terms, Black Friday is the beginning of the period where retailers aren’t in the red but are in the black.
Black Friday is a very important day to retailers in the United States as that is part of what strengthens the US economy. In fact, some retailers are heavily dependent on the Christmas shopping season that the profits they make during that time period offset any losses that they have incurred the rest of the year.
Now that you know why the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, make sure while you are shopping on this day, that you stay in the “black” and not in the “red”.