(WFRV) – Many know the day after Thanksgiving is referred to as ‘Black Friday,’ but why?

While some social media posts attribute the day’s roots as dating back to the practice of selling off slaves the day after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press says that isn’t the case.

Instead, the term ‘Black Friday’ is linked to a financial crash in the late 1880s.

According to the History channel, the term ‘Black Friday’ was associated with the collapse of the gold market:

For a century, the term Black Friday was associated with a 19th-century financial crisis. In 1869, two scheming Wall Street financiers bought as much gold as they could with the hopes of artificially driving up the price and selling at an astronomical profit. Instead, the gold market collapsed and took the stock market with it, bankrupting millions on Friday, September 24.


According to the Associated Press, ‘Black Friday’ wasn’t used in relation to the shopping day after Thanksgiving until the 1960s when large crowds took to the streets of Philadelphia before the annual Army-Navy game to take advantage of sales at stores.

A 1975 Associated Press article quotes a sales manager at Gimbels department store who was watching a police officer try to control jaywalkers the day after Thanksgiving. That’s why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today ’Black Friday. They think in terms of headaches it gives them,” she said.

Philadelphia police officers had to try to control the crowds that day.

The Associated Press says the term has also been used by retailers who say Black Friday represents the time when they go from operating in the red to the black as sales boost profits.

According to History, Black Friday didn’t take on its role as America’s most popular holiday shopping day until the 1980s.

The Telegraph reports that, along with the United Kingdom and the US, the Black Friday we’re familiar with has also become popular in other countries across the globe, including Brazil, India, France, Norway, Romania, and Germany.

Bustle says countries like Canada, Mexico, Australia, China, Japan, Russia, and Pakistan also celebrate Black Friday. Despite this, some will fly to the US to participate in Black Friday, according to The Atlantic.

While the coronavirus pandemic has altered the way many retailers are approaching Black Friday, shoppers are still heading to the stores, like they did in Green Bay.

And what about Cyber Monday?

According to Reader’s Digest, the term ‘Cyber Monday’ was coined in 2005 by the senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Foundation. The NRF reportedly noticed a spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

This spike was believed to be caused by people shopping on their computers at work where the Internet was likely faster and their children couldn’t see what was being bought.

Last year, Cyber Monday spending hit $7.8 billion in digital spending, according to Comscore.

It’s hard to say how Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be affected by many retailers spreading out their deals and many consumers moving to online shopping due to COVID-19.