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Black Friday: An accident of history

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Here's a question about Black Friday: "Why, on the day after we spend time being thankful for what we have, do we spend time wanting more?" It turns out it's just an accident of history, and we can thank Abraham Lincoln.

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For millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping --even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone! Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States - falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. Wanna know why it became so popular? See here.
In recent years, most major retailers have opened extremely early and offered promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in many Commonwealth Nations. Black Friday is not a federal holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.
Later on, the fact that this marked the official start of the shopping season led to controversy. In 1939, retail shops would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date for Thanksgiving one week earlier, leading to much anger by the public who wound up having to change holiday plans. Some even refused the change, resulting in the U.S. citizens celebrating Thanksgiving on two separate days. Some started referring to the change as Franksgiving.
In the 1950s, some factory managers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as "black Friday" because so many workers called in sick. The day, noted one industrial magazine, was "a disease second only to the bubonic plague" in its effects on employees. In the early 1960s, Philadelphia cops used the term to describe the intense crowds of shoppers and traffic that poured into center city on the day after Thanksgiving. It was hardly a term of endearment. All the people and congestion made police work more difficult. As a sales manager at Gimbels said, watching a cop trying to deal with a group of jaywalkers, "the police think in terms of headaches that it gives them." Learn more here.
To learn more about Thanksgiving Day, check out these resources:
Interested in the first American Thanksgiving? See here.
Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l'Action de grâce in Canadian French) is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada. In the United States, Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been an annual tradition since 1863. As a federal and public holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."
Here's an article from Huffington Post titled: 'Thanksgiving To Almighty God': Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations From George Washington To Barack Obama
In 2013, two holidays happen on the same day. Here's an article from The New York Times titled Holidays Holding Hands When Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Collide
Avatar for Marisol Prado
It's my favorite quote because it talks about being thankful for the simple things and not just the big things. It makes us grateful for everything we have because there are people who are less fortunate than us.
11/26/2019 • 
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Avatar for Patrick Armstrong
Salk rushed his vaccine to market. He didn't completely sterilise the Green Monkey Kidneys he used to grow the Polio virus, so those of us who got the Salk injection were poisoned! My second and third doses of Polio vaccine were an oral Sabin vaccine.
11/29/2019 • 
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Avatar for Lilli Gleason
This is my favorite quote because it talks about how our country had a lot to be thankful for and that we should be grateful for it. We had gotten to a point where we had strength and peace.
11/30/2019 • 
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Avatar for Joseph Brandt
I like this quote because it means we are thankful for the simple things, and not for the other big or hard things. it makes us grateful for everything we own to live because there are those who don't have what we do and have and are less fortunate then us.
12/02/2019 • 
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Avatar for Grace McLaughlin
I chose this quote because I think it describes most why we celebrate Thanksgiving; for being healthy and having food to eat. Also, some people don't have what we have, but those people can still be thankful.
12/02/2019 • 
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Avatar for Margaret Joyce
I like this quote because he is aware that we do still need change but that we also have so much to be grateful for.
12/02/2019 • 
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Avatar for Dalilah Ramirez
This lets us know to be thankful with what we receive and what we get and to give to people back and put a smile on someone just like they put a smile on you.
12/02/2019 • 
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Avatar for Irene Landeira
Black friday is overrated, it is only a comercial strategy.
11/26/2020 • 
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