Why Is It Called Black Friday? Here's How the Holiday Got its Name


Black Friday is known to be one of the busiest days of shopping, as customers stop by stores to save big bucks at retailers across the nation.

But how did the shopping extravaganza come to be dubbed Black Friday?

Its roots can be traced back to the 1960s in Philadelphia. Tourists would travel to the city for Thanksgiving and stick around for the annual Army-Navy football game that unfolded Saturday, according to Britannica.

Philadelphia police started coining the daunting day Black Friday because they had to work longer hours to deal with the flux of visitors and mitigate issues related to overcrowding, such as traffic, accidents and shoplifting, Britannica said.

The police jargon started to spread, as retailers adopted it into their vocabulary to reel tourists in. But stores tried to put a different, more positive spin on the day by calling it "Big Friday." The name didn't have the same ring, and retailers reverted to using Black Friday.

Retailers added that the holiday marked a point in time when stores went from using red to black ink in their books, referring to the financial phenomenon in which companies cut their losses and turn a profit.

The lingo clearly stuck, with retailers developing different iterations of it. Cyber Monday, a day devoted to online shopping, has sprouted, and so has Small Business Saturday, a campaign to get shoppers to visit local retailers.

While the holiday has been around for quite some time, it still continues to evolve. Major companies like Target and Walmart would open its doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving day, but they no longer do so, operating solely on Black Friday. The changes largely stemmed from the pandemic, as companies made the move to prevent overcrowding.

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