Good Question - How Did 'Black Friday' Get Its Start?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tomorrow is Black Friday, the day retailers offer deep discounts to kick off the holiday shopping season. But how did Black Friday get its start, and is it true that there used to be two Black Fridays? Those are good questions.

The term Black Friday was first used in Philadelphia. It was used to describe the massive traffic jams and crowds of shoppers in the streets of Philadelphia on the first Friday after Thanksgiving.

The context was later changed to describe the day most retailers began to make money. Being in the "black" rather than the "red" thanks to the masses of shoppers.

At one time, in fact, there were two Black Fridays. That's because Thanksgiving used to be on the final Thursday of November. In 1939, there were five Thursdays in November in the midst of the great depression. Retailers wanted a longer shopping season.

At that time in history, it was not considered right to advertise Christmas deals before Thanksgiving so President Franklin D. Roosevelt, wanting to give retailers more time to make some holiday money, moved Thanksgiving up one week to the 4th Thursday of November.

Some citizens were upset and refused to change. This resulted in celebrating Thanksgiving twice and thus beginning their shopping on the 1st Friday of the second Thanksgiving. Of course, now that's all changed. Retailers start advertising holiday deals long before Thanksgiving. But there is still Black Friday, and it's still the biggest shopping day of the season.

If you have a good question, send it to Jeff Herndon at news@KAKE.com. We'll do our best to answer your good question every Thursday on KAKE News at 6.


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