With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, so does the infamous shopping spree known as Black Friday. Many point out the irony of a day of thankfulness being followed by ruthless shopping but yet the trend continues. So how did this season of gratitude become about getting more? Let us start with why we celebrate Thanksgiving.
This first Thanksgiving was celebrated back in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Native Americans had a big feast together to celebrate surviving a brutal winter. Without the help of the Wampanoag, the new colonists would have suffered even more than they did from exposure, scurvy, and other contagious diseases. So as a way to thank their new friends, the colonists threw a big feast to honor their friendship lasting 3 days.
George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 as a way to express gratitude for the end of the war of independence. In 1817, New York was the first state to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday and in 1863, Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday after the many requests made by Sarah Josepha Hale. It was celebrated on the last Thursday of November every year except for between 1939 and 1940 when President Roosevelt made it the third Thursday of the month in order to promote retail sales during the Great Depression. After meeting great opposition, President Roosevelt signed a bill returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November.
The history behind Black Friday is much more recent development. Although the term originally referred to a financial crisis in 1869 and more recently, the day a business’s accounting records went from loss to profit (red meaning loss and black meaning profit), today it indicates the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Today, retailers begin releasing deals on their merchandise to attract customers right after Thanksgiving, making it one of the biggest shopping days of the year when before it used to be the week before Christmas. Since 2006, there have been a total of 7 deaths and 90 injuries attributed to Black Friday Shopping.
Seems like a lot of trouble just to get a new television. Dangerous even. So my encouragement to you all is either shop online, which more and more companies offering, or just wait until the day after. Chances are, the deals will still be there.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and stay safe this Black Friday!