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History and Origin of Black Friday

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider it the "official" beginning to the holiday season. Most retailers will open very early and usually provide massive discounts on their products. Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either Christmas Eve or the last Saturday before Christmas.

The origin of the name, "Black Friday" historically comes from the retailer's shift to profitability during the holiday season. Back in the day when accounting records were kept by hand, red ink indicated financial loss while black ink indicated profit, thus coining the popular fiscal terms of being "in the red," (losing money) or "in the black" (profitable).

As Black Friday is the day many U.S. consumers typically begin their Christmas shopping, sales are heavily promoted by retailers throughout the country. Stores are often decorated for the Christmas seasons weeks before-hand and retailers open very early (typically 5 A.M.) to offer "door buster deals", "loss leaders" and incentives to draw people to their shops. Although the day after Thanksgiving has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season for decades, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1970s and did not achieve widespread use and popularity until 2002.

As a note, the holiday season's Black Friday should not be confused with other historical events or films that share the same name.

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