Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and currently, it’s one of the major shopping days in the USA and Europe.
In 1863, President Lincoln designated the Thanksgiving holiday as the last Thursday in November. At the time, the day after Thanksgiving was not known as Black Friday.
The term Black Friday was first introduced on September 24th, 1869, as a result of the crash of the U.S. gold market. Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy as much as they could of the nation’s gold in order to raise the price of gold and increase profit.
When the conspiracy collapsed on that Friday, the market went into free fall and bankrupted everyone, from Wall Street bankers to farmers.
One popular version of Black Friday’s origin dates from 1980s when retailers used the term because it referred to the day of the year when profit would be finally made because people spent more money on discounted goods.
In that way, retail companies go “into the black” (make a profit) after working without profit (being in the red) during the year.
According to another theory, the term came from an invented tradition of selling slaves the day after Thanksgiving, when slave traders gave discounts at auctions.
However, the origin of the true story behind Black Friday comes from Philadelphia police officers, bus drivers and taxi cab drivers.
The police in Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos and the traffic problems caused due to the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Every Black Friday, no traffic policeman was permitted to take the day off.
In the 1960s, Bonnie Taylor-Black wrote that the term Black Friday originated within the police in Philadelphia which faced massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks on the Friday that followed Thanksgiving Day.
Merchants had tried to remove the negative connotations and recommended rebranding the day to “Big Friday”, but the term was quickly forgotten.
The negative connotations of the term were forgotten and Black Friday became one of the nation’s biggest sale bonanzas of the year.
Stores started opening earlier on that Friday, so Black Friday is generally considered to be a kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Today, the term refers to profit, not problems.