When is Black Friday?

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Black Friday is an annual shopping event that has become a significant holiday phenomenon. Regarded as the official commencement of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday establishes retail madness marked by blockbuster deals and significant discounts. Black Friday occurs each year after the American holiday of Thanksgiving and has become a global event that influences consumer culture.

This year Black Friday will be celebrated on Friday, November 29, 2024. Next year Black Friday will be celebrated on Friday, November 28, 2025.

Black Friday Dates

This year: November 29, 2024

Next year: November 28, 2025

The next 5 years:

  • November 28, 2025
  • November 27, 2026
  • November 26, 2027
  • November 24, 2028
  • November 23, 2029

The term "Black Friday" was first coined in Philadelphia to illustrate the chaotic traffic incidents and congestion resulting from eager holiday shoppers. It has evolved from its origins as a busy shopping day to become a key date in the retail calendar. Today, Black Friday has expanded into an entire weekend of sales, with the advent of Cyber Monday adding an online component to this shopping fest.

The rapid popularity of Black Friday shopping - the physical jostle in stores and scrupulous online scrolling - has created a ripple effect on various aspects of society, economy, and culture. It significantly influences consumer behavior and the retail industry, shaping how both businesses operate and consumers shop during the holiday season.

Black Friday Significance and Meaning

Black Friday's significance is multilayered. Primarily, it signals the start of the holiday shopping season. As the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, it features prominently in American retail culture. Retailers offer substantial discounts, incentivizing consumers to commence their holiday shopping. This wave of consumption kick-starts the season of giving and unfolds the holiday spirit, making the day crucial both economically and culturally.

The meaning behind Black Friday is equally complex and intriguing. It's referred to as "Black" Friday due to the flood of shoppers that generate large profits, ushering in 'the black' for many businesses. The day yearly acts as an effective yardstick for the economy, symbolizing consumer confidence and spending habits.

However, Black Friday also raises consumerism concerns. This post-Thanksgiving shopping spree underscores society's friction between gratitude and consumerism, triggering ongoing debates about value priorities. Despite criticisms, its cultural and economic significance remains undisputed. Encouraging spending, advancing economies, and nurturing the holiday spirit, Black Friday's symbolic meaning is entrenched in contemporary culture.

Black Friday Traditions and Customs

In the broadest sense, the term 'Black Friday' denotes a unique holiday that manifests in peculiar traditions and customs. As a day deeply entrenched in commerce, the customs surrounding it are deeply influenced by the spirit of mass consumerism, transforming the day into a grand exhibition of buying and selling.

One of the most popular customs of Black Friday is the mark down in prices. Retailers, both big and small, significantly drop their prices, enticing the throngs of eager shoppers who set camp outside their stores on Thanksgiving evening. It is common to see waiting lines, online and offline, swelling several hours, or days, before the stores officially open. Shoppers are often seen carting away countless items as the night descends, turning the shopping centres into a live spectacle of retail theatre.

Also, the tradition of "doorbuster" deals are another integral custom of Black Friday. These are limited-time offers, available only in stores, usually in the early morning hours. Doorbusters are attempts by retailers to entice customers into their stores with the promise of rock-bottom prices on popular items. They believe 'early bird' customers are more likely to purchase other items while they are in-store, even if they initially just planned to purchase the "doorbuster" deal.

Effectively, Black Friday has shaped up to be a holiday marked by indulgence in shopping thereby creating a set of unique traditions and customs.

Black Friday Date(s) Observed

Black Friday is observed on the day following the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Notably, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, thus marking Black Friday traditionally as the fourth Friday of the month. The dating of this event inherently positions Black Friday as the commercial launch of the festive holiday shopping season.

The timing of Black Friday is strategically determined by its position after Thanksgiving, and it often coincides with a long holiday weekend for many American workers. This arrangement allows for maximum retail participation, presenting an opportunity for consumers to begin their holiday shopping in earnest. Black Friday is not an official public holiday in the United States, but some states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees.

While Black Friday is predominantly recognized in the United States, its influence has expanded to multiple global markets in recent years. Many countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and even Brazil, have adapted this shopping event on the same date, creating global synchrony. The concept of Black Friday as a worldwide shopping phenomenon solidifies its status as one of the most significant retail events of the annual calendar.

Black Friday Historical Background

The history of Black Friday is interesting and multifaceted, with roots stretching back to a darker period in United States history. Originally, the term was used to refer to a catastrophic financial crisis that occurred on September 24, 1869. The events revolved around a gold market scandal, which resulted in significant financial loss and economic turmoil in the country.

Thoroughly distinct from this earlier event, the Black Friday we are familiar with today has its origins in Philadelphia during the 1960s. In this context, "Black Friday" was a term used by local police to describe the chaos and heavy traffic encountered annually on the day after Thanksgiving. Hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists would swarm into the city ahead of the big Army-Navy football game, leading to a busy weekend for shop owners and law enforcement.

Over time, the term Black Friday was co-opted and redefined by retailers throughout the United States. They turned a phrase historically associated with traffic jams and chaos into a day symbolizing the point in the year when businesses started to turn a profit, going from being "in the red" to "in the black". Today, it signals the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, a critical time for retailers. The historical background of Black Friday provides a revealing insight into the evolution and commercialization of the holiday season in the United States.

Black Friday Cultural Impact

The cultural impact of the holiday known as Black Friday is significant and far-reaching. This shopping-driven event transcends the borders of the United States, it origin country, and has become a global phenomenon.

Black Friday has indeed morphed into a cultural event that much of the global community recognizes. The day is not only a major shopping day but also a barometer of consumer confidence and economic health. Major retailers and small businesses alike benefit from the boost in sales, and consumers often use the opportunity to do bulk holiday shopping.

Interestingly, Black Friday has usurped the tradition of waiting until after Thanksgiving to start holiday shopping. It has shaped our consumption habits, inducing a sense of urgency around deals and discounts. The fervor is so intense that many stores now open their doors on Thanksgiving afternoon itself.

In this technologically advanced era, the holiday has even permeated the online landscape. This has led to the emergence of Cyber Monday, a day dedicated to online deals following Black Friday weekend. Essentially, Black Friday has facilitated the evolution of holiday shopping habits from physical to digital spheres. This reveals the cultural influence wielded by Black Friday on society at large.

Black Friday Regional Variations

The holiday of Black Friday varies considerably depending on the location or region it's celebrated in. This is in large part due to how much influence American culture may have within that region, as well as the economic circumstances each area faces.

Notably, Black Friday in Canada differs somewhat from its American counterpart, although they still occur on the same day. As a reaction to Canadians crossing the border for American Black Friday sales, Canadian retailers began promoting similar sales. This makes it more of an economic event than a cultural one in Canada.

In contrast, the United Kingdom has adopted Black Friday with robust enthusiasm over the past decade. Once a minor event, it has transformed into a major shopping extravaganza that rivals its American counterpart. However, the UK version typically extends over a longer period, often encompassing the entire weekend.

In parts of Europe, such as Germany and France, Black Friday has been met with mixed responses. Many businesses participate in the sales and consumers often enjoy the discounts, although there has been critique for its promotion of overconsumption. Therefore, its adoption is less widespread compared to the U.S or U.K.

In summary, while Black Friday has its roots in the United States, its interpretation and adoption vary across the globe, highlighting the diverse regional variations of the holiday.

Black Friday Controversies and Criticisms

While Black Friday is seen as a haven for consumers to snag deals, the event is not without its share of controversies and criticisms. Critics highlight ethical, safety, and societal issues associated with this day. Beginning with ethical concerns, there's an outcry against the over-consumption encouraged by Black Friday. Critics expound that this frenzied buying fuels environmental damage as excess materials are wasted in the production and packaging of discounted items. This criticism is voiced not just by environmentalists, but also by some businesses promoting more sustainable shopping methods.

A second point of contention lies in the realm of worker's rights, with many retail employees compelled to work long hours in challenging conditions to accommodate Black Friday sales traffic. Unions and labor rights groups argue that these extended hours contribute to the stress and exhaustion experienced by retail workers. They also contend that the event has a detrimental impact on family life as employees are often required to work on Thanksgiving Day to prepare for the upcoming sales.

Safety issues have also plagued the reputation of Black Friday. Critics note the dangerous chaos that can ensue as shoppers scramble for limited bargain products. In some instances, large and unruly crowds have led to injuries and even fatalities. These safety concerns cast an unfavorable light on the day, prompting retailers to enhance security measures and reassess sale practices. This scrutiny of Black Friday underscores the need for balance between consumer demand, employee rights, environmental stewardship, and public safety.

Black Friday Date Observance

Black Friday refers to the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States. This holiday is observed on the fourth Thursday of November, with Black Friday officially beginning at midnight or during the early hours of the day. However, in recent years, many businesses have started their Black Friday sales as early as Thanksgiving Day itself to extend the shopping period.

Black Friday is marked annually, and while it's not officially recognized as a public holiday, it's widely considered the starting point of the holiday shopping season. Most private businesses, retail stores, and even online shopping platforms mark this day with significant sales and discounts. As a result, Black Friday is considered an unofficial start to the festive season.

While initially a phenomenon peculiar to the United States, the observance of Black Friday has spread to various countries worldwide. With globalization and the rise of e-commerce, the impact of Black Friday is felt globally, with many countries marking the day with their own sales. By adopting this holiday, countries worldwide have aligned their retail calendars with that of the United States, confirming the universal importance of this shopping holiday.

Black Friday Related Holidays

Black Friday is nexus of multiple holidays that all contribute to the festive ambience. Its positioning, right after Thanksgiving, sets the stage for the Christmas shopping season in countries such as the United States. Families, still basking in the warmth of Thanksgiving celebrations, take the opportunity to start Christmas shopping the following day.

Throughout November, Black Friday sales also coincide with Cyber Monday, which falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. While Black Friday originated in brick-and-mortar stores, Cyber Monday is a strictly digital phenomenon brought about by the internet age. It’s another vital period of heavy retail activity, as e-commerce platforms offer hefty discounts.

In some regions, there's also Grey Thursday, the prolog to Black Friday. Stores open their doors from Thanksgiving evening itself. This holiday is not universally accepted but it does exist, furthering the festive atmosphere. Thus, Black Friday is intertwined with a variety of other holidays, forming an intricate network of celebrations, traditions, and opportunities for retail indulgence.

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