By Remez Sasson
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Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day many U.S. retailers open very early, and offer promotional sales to start the shopping season.
History and Origin
The term Black Friday originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic, which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.
Use of the term began in Philadelphia, and then spread to other cities around 1975.
The earliest known reference to “Black Friday” to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication in Philadelphia:
“Black Friday is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks.”
Later, an alternative explanation was offered. The origin of the name, “Black Friday” historically, comes from the retailer’s shift to profitability during the holiday season. Back in the day when accounting records were kept by hand, red ink indicated financial loss while black ink indicated profit. This led to coining the fiscal terms of being “in the red,” (losing money) or “in the black” (making profits).
During black Friday, one can see shoppers lined up for hours before stores open. Once inside the stores, shoppers often rush and grab goods.