'Black Fri­day'

The Guardian Weekly - - Culture -

In cen­turies past, Black Fri­day (from 1610) was school slang for a Fri­day on which pupils had a big test, and so some­thing to be dreaded. But now it’s at­tached to the an­nual dis­count-shop­ping frenzy that has been and gone this year. Black Wed­nes­day, when Bri­tain fell out of the Euro­pean ex­change rate mech­a­nism in 1992, was a dis­as­ter, and so was Black Mon­day, the 1987 global stock mar­ket crash. Like­wise Black Thurs­day and the fol­low­ing Black Tues­day, book­end­ing the Wall Street crash of 1929. It would be nice to think Black Fri­day is named in this tra­di­tion, to point up the en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe of run­away con­sumerism, but no such luck. It came to de­note the be­gin­ning of the Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son in the 1960s, when “black” re­ferred wryly to city con­ges­tion wrought by the shop­ping hordes.

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