Origin of Thanksgiving and Black Friday

November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. While it has been a federal holiday since 1863, the first thanksgiving dates back to 1621. The present day version of Thanksgiving as a national day was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln who marked the day as ‘Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens’. Before that, Thanksgiving was celebrated across the country since 1789, when George Washington was the president.

Thanksgiving originated in 1621 when Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in what was then known as the New World. The First Thanksgiving was a feast attended by ninety Native Americans who celebrated for three days. Since then, Thanksgiving has been a day to thank God, to celebrate the end of drought and later to commemorate the military victory.

The Friday following the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday is known as Black Friday. It is the fourth Friday of November. Unlike Thanksgiving, Black Friday is not a federal holiday but some states have a holiday for government employees. A few states including California celebrate it as ‘The Day After Thanksgiving’.

In recent years, Black Friday has become a shopping festival with brands and companies across the board offer generous discounts. Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Along with Thanksgiving and the subsequent Saturday and Sunday, Black Friday marks a four day long weekend. Ecommerce has certainly redefined Black Friday with companies like GPEL offering generous discounts and hosting massive sales with deals on iPhone 6s cases, tempered glass, power chargers and a plethora of other products. Click here for more information.

The term Black Friday was originally coined in 1869. At the time, the United States was facing a financial crisis. Since then, the term has been in use to depict various contexts. In 1961, Black Friday got associated with Thanksgiving for the first time. It was used in an article published in the December issue of The Shortsville-Manchester Enterprise. The article spoke of a reference used by the New York police to describe the day after Thanksgiving. Owing to the shopping sprees and the footfalls at major commercial establishments, the cops including the traffic departments considered the day as chaotic and messy.

Later that month, on 18th December in 1961, the term was used again in another article depicting the reference that had become customary among Philadelphia police officers. Philadelphia cops referred to the shopping days following Thanksgiving as Black Friday and Black Saturday. The latter did not become popular but the former did. Since 1975, Black Friday has been sort of a national shopping day.

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