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Where Did Black Friday Come From? Why Do We Celebrate The Biggest Unofficial Holiday Of The Year?

There are so many things Americans can stand in line for, like voting or getting tested but for the love of saving, many would rather stand in line for a video game or sneaker releases. The day after Thanksgiving is the one day where you can get it all, for the low-low, if you can stand in line for hours and bum rush people in stores to get what you want. But where did Black Friday come from? 

Since the late 19th century, the day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season. It dates back to as early as the 1860s. But in 1924, #Macys launched its famous Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City and the parade boosted shopping the following day. Retailers made a “gentleman’s agreement” to wait until after Thanksgiving before advertising holiday sales.

According to The Balance, during the Great Depression in 1939, Thanksgiving fell on the fifth week of November. Retailers feared they would go bankrupt because the holiday shopping season was too short so they petitioned former President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving up to the fourth Thursday instead. In 1941, Congress passed a law that permanently made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. 

By 1961, the day took on the name “Black Friday,” supposedly originating in Philadelphia, which described the heavy and disruptive foot and vehicle traffic the day after Thanksgiving. It is also explained to be the day when retailers’ accounts go from “in the red” to “in the black.” There are numerous beliefs in the origin of the retail holiday and in recent years, it was said that the day after Thanksgiving was when slave traders would sell slaves for a discount to assist plantation owners with more helpers. Whatever the reason is, it is all about making and spending money.

But preparation for Black Friday extends beyond the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers are store prepping for Black Friday weeks before Thanksgiving and consumers are geared up and standing in line outside of stores right after dinner on Thanksgiving Day. In 2011, many stores began opening on Thanksgiving evening for the first time, and those sales were $12.3 billion, up 2.3 percent from 2010. Overall holiday sales rose 4.6 percent that year. And every year since (and with the addition of Cyber Monday the following Monday after Thanksgiving) Black Friday weekend in retail has been prospering.

Are you celebrating #BlackFriday this year?

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