What is Black Friday?

In India, we are now getting used to terms like “Big Billion days” thanks to Flipkart pushing this concept over the last few years. And now we are being bombarded by terms like Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Winter Holidays.

For Hindi film buffs, Black Friday is a movie on Bombay blasts, written and directed by Anurag Kashyap. But for USA retailers and businesses, it is a mega sale period! First, let us understand a much-celebrated event in the Western world called “Thanksgiving“.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Just like how most Indian celebrations are during harvest periods of Makar Sankranti, Holi, Baisakhi, Onam, etc.  Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.

On Thanksgiving day, families and friends get together for a meal, which traditionally includes a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Black Friday began in Philadelphia, USA, in the 1960s. Tourists would descend on the city on the day between Thanksgiving and the annual Army-Navy football game held on Saturday. Historians say the Philadelphia police took to calling the day Black Friday because officers had to work long hours and deal with terrible traffic, bad weather and other crowd-related miseries.

Local retailers wanted to draw in shoppers that day. But they disliked the term because of the connotation of the word “black” in front of a day of the week, which historically has been used to mark unpleasant events. Retailers tried to rebrand the holiday “Big Friday” but were unsuccessful. Businesses later reclaimed the name Black Friday, saying that the day was when stores’ books went from red ink to black.

In 2021, this term is now being used by Indian retailers as well – especially the foreign brands / companies. The idea being to get people to spend money via exclusive deals and thereby liquidate stocks.

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