Black Friday 2020: History, its connection with Christmas, Thanksgiving Day

Black Friday has become an international phenomenon with retailers in several countries offering heavy discounts. Photo: Shutterstock
The Friday following Thanksgiving Day, a special day for shopping enthusiasts, is known by the informal name 'Black Friday'. This day marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and sees massive sales at retail outlets and online shopping platforms around the world, but especially in the US.

On this day, retail outlets around the world open early and offer products at discounted rates.

The tradition of shopping for Christmas in the month of November or even earlier has been going on for decades. The term 'Black Friday', however, has become widely popular only in recent years, with retailers (and now etailers too) adopting the term and date to push their sales with attractive offers.

Here's all you need to know about Black Friday 2020

History of Black Friday

The term was first used in New York about 145 years ago, according to official records. But Black Friday at the time had nothing to do with Christmas shopping.

The use of the term was connected to a stock market scam and an eventual crash triggered by two investors named Jay Gould and Jim Fisk. As the market crashed on a Friday, the day came to be known as 'Black Friday'. According to reports, the crash took a severe toll on the US economy for many years.

Why is it called Black Friday?

The day's connection to sales and offers by retailers originated in Philadelphia in the 1905s or 1960s, according to historians.

The term was used by police officers in the state when the Army-Navy football game, traditionally played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, resulted in a massive turnout of shoppers and tourists in the city.

This eventually led to overcrowding in public places, massive traffic jams, and cops had to work more a day after Thanksgiving.

So, they started dreading the day and calling it 'Black Friday'. But little did they know at the time that retailers in the state and other places would soon latch on to the term to promote their discounted products.

Present relevance of Black Friday and Black Friday sale

In the decades that followed, there were a lot of efforts by sales professionals and retailers to change the term to something positive like 'Big Friday'. However, the new terms could never be as popular as 'Black Friday'.

In the past few years, Black Friday has become an international phenomenon with retailers in several countries offering heavy discounts on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

This year, however, retail outlets are unlikely to see heavy footfalls due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But the response might still be good on e-commerce websites, where deals have already gone live.

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