The idea of celebrating a shopping holiday has now reached many other countries. Black Friday can be observed in most European countries with increasing popularity. In the United States already in the 19th century many Thanksgiving parades included the arrival of Santa to make Americans aware of the fact that it was time to start Christmas shopping. Most stores and shopping centers take advantage of Black Friday and offer big discounts with opening hours starting earlier and earlier every year. In 2011 some retailers opened their shops at midnight for the first time. In the following years some stores started their sales on Thanksgiving evening, so many people called it Black Thursday instead of Black Friday.
The name Black Friday was not always associated with the Friday after Thanksgiving. Usually, when a day was called black, it was connected with some tragedy or calamity. Probably the first use of the phrase “Black Friday” referring to the day after Thanksgiving was made in 1951, and the reason was the practice of many employees who were calling in sick in order to have a day off after Thanksgiving. The term also started to be used by the police, because of the crowds and traffic caused by the beginning of the shopping season. One more theory explains why Friday after Thanksgiving can be black. It suggested that retailers from January to November would operate at a financial loss and use red ink to show it. Black Friday is the day when they finally start making a profit and using black ink to write it down. However, it took many years for the denotation to become widely associated with shopping and discounts.
Nowadays Black Friday has gained such a popularity and promulgation that major crowds gather in front of thousands of shops in the United States that day. Because of the crowds people often push one another, sometimes even throw them to the ground. As a result, many injuries, more or less serious, have been noticed on Black Friday. In 2008 there was also probably the first recorded case of death during Black Friday, when an angry crowd trampled an employee to death.
Did you know?
Before 1939 Thanksgiving was annually observed on the last Thursday of November. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, however, made a proclamation that changed the date to the penultimate Thursday. This is how the shopping season could start one week earlier and – in result – last longer. Some people referred to the new date as to “Franksgiving” followed by Black Friday appearing seven days earlier than before.
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