The History of Black Friday


Black Friday is an exciting day. Attractive sales, variety of products, the beginning of Christmas shopping season, why wouldn’t someone like Black Friday? But why is it called Black Friday? What is its significance and where does this shopping season stem from?


The name ‘Black Friday’ originates from mid-1960s Philadelphia where large crowds of tourists came into the city, the day after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game, causing traffic jams and a whole load of chaos. Police officers had to work for long shifts and were unable to take the day off in order to control the situation. The term ‘Black Friday’ was used to describe their frustration on that particular day.


Another story retailers would use to explain the origin of ‘Black Friday’, is that it links to the retailers’ yearly operation of being at loss (“in the red”), but then they would “get in the black” on the day after Thanksgiving and become profitable for the year. Retailers disliked the idea that ‘Black Friday’ had negative connotations and so in the late 1980s, they reinvented Black Friday and emphasized that Black Friday was about the concept of changing from “red to black” as mentioned previously.


Although the name ‘Black Friday’ does not have the most positive connotation, it sure does not have that same connotation in 2020. Black Friday today is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States and an estimated amount of $729 billion was spent in total on Black Friday last year!