Nowadays, when we hear the term “Black Friday” we immediately think about a load of people trying to cram into the stores, late night shopping, and crazy specials. If you’ve ever wondered why is it called “Black Friday” or how/when did Black Friday start then keep reading!

When is Black Friday?

If you’re hoping I’ll give you a fixed date, you’re going to be disappointed. The date is different every year because it falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday of November. So in 2018, Black Friday is on the 23rd of November, and in 2019 it will be on the 29th of November.

Why is it Called “Black Friday”?

The Friday part is simple since it always falls on a Friday, of course. As for the “black” part, the most commonly accepted origin is that after supposedly working at a loss all year and being “in the red”, companies make so much money on Black Friday that they end up “in the black” from all the profits they make.

A store opening its doors for Black Friday.

When did Black Friday Start?

The first time the phrase “Black Friday” was used was in 1869. However, it did not refer to a day of frenzied shopping. Instead, it referred to a catastrophic stock market crash in September of that year which bankrupted a lot of people.

In the 1950’s the term was used to describe the day after Thanksgiving when lots of people would go to Philadelphia to watch a big football game between the Army and the Navy. There were so many people that the police had to work extra long hours and there was a lot of crime, specifically looting and shoplifting.

The first time that it was used to refer to the shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving was back in 1961. Many of the shops in Philadelphia started to use the name to promote huge sales.

The name “Black Friday” only really caught on in the rest of America back in the 1980’s. This is when the idea of shops going from red to black became the idea behind the name.

What if I Miss Black Friday? Do I Have to Wait Until Next Year?

Yes and no. While you will have to wait a whole year for Black Friday again, you still have some time to get great specials. Over the years Black Friday has changed from being one day to being four days. After Black Friday it is Small Business Saturday, Small Business Sunday and finally, Cyber Monday. While Small Business Saturday and Small Business Sunday aren’t very well known in South Africa, there are some shops that do, however, have Cyber Monday.

Next time some talks about Black Friday you can blow their minds with these facts.

Click here to join a Facebook group dedicated to Black Friday 2018 sales and specials.