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The beginning of Black Friday

Savannah Reams: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Black Friday is an annual occurrence that is popular among millions of U.S. citizens. Many go to bed early Thanksgiving night, with intentions of waking in the wee hours of the morning to begin shopping the various Black Friday sales at stores throughout each city. Some even begin shopping the night of Thanksgiving, refusing to cease throughout the night. The rest stay home, avoiding the crowds while they digest the day's feast. But, how did this begin? How did the day after Thanksgiving become the ever popular Black Friday?

During the Great Depression, retailers were in a bind. Then, Thanksgiving fell during the fifth week of November. They worried they would go bankrupt because the holiday season was too short. So, retailers across the U.S. petitioned President Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month. At first, the change caused confusion among the states—many adapted to the change, while others still celebrated during the fifth week. In 1941, Congress passed a law making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November, no matter the consensus.

In the 1950s, due to Thanksgiving's earlier arrival, people began calling in sick the day after the holiday—oftentimes to begin their holiday shopping early. This became so popular that businesses started adding the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday in order to avoid having to determine who was playing hooky and who was legitimately sick. By the time the 1960s arrived, the day after Thanksgiving had officially been dubbed Black Friday—the Philadelphia Police Department used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in downtown stores.

The nickname stuck and retailers across the nation would never again need to worry about bankruptcy this time of year. Today, Black Friday serves as the day that officially kicks off the holiday shopping season. While retailers benefit from the influx of shoppers, you can benefit too! Check out all the amazing opportunities for savings locally—you may be glad you braved the black!

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