What is Black Friday?

What is Black Friday?

What is Black Friday exactly? Yes, we’ve seen the advertisments, the ridiculous sales, and shoppers scrambling to get deals but what is it really? A few years ago no one knew what Black Friday was. It was just one of those things we hear about in movies and TV shows. Today Black Friday is a big deal even here in South Africa. Many of us have wondered what exactly Black Friday is, when it is and why “Black” Friday?

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in America. Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday of Novemeber. Naturally, the next day is Friday, hence the second part of the name Black Friday. Black Friday 2018 is on 23 November, but this date changes each year. For the next five years, the dates for Black Friday will be as follows:

  • Black Friday 2018 – 23 November
  • Black Friday 2019 – 29 November
  • Black Friday 2020 – 27 November
  • Black Friday 2021 – 26 November
  • Black Friday 2022 – 25 November

Why “Black” Friday?

The name Black Friday has a history stretching back as far as 1869. On the 24th of September, 1869, there was a huge stock market crash which left thousands of people, both rich and poor, bankrupt. This happened because two men had the idea to buy up as much gold as they could, hoping to drive the gold price as high as possible so that they could sell it at a huge profit. When their plan was discovered on Friday the 24th of September, everything fell apart. This dark day was called Black Friday.

In the 1950’s, the police in Philadelphia used the name to describe the day after Thanksgiving when lots of people would rush to Philadelphia to watch the football match between the US Army and the US Navy. This match was held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. On that Friday the police would have to work very long shifts to deal with the increased crime, especially shoplifting.

By the 1960’s shops started using the name to promote their specials and by the 1980’s the name and idea caught on all through America. According to modern stories, the “black” part of the name is because, throughout the year, shops work at a loss and are “in the red” but on Black Friday they make so much money that they end up “in the black.”

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Written by: Clifford Ekron

Last updated: November 20, 2018

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