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When is Black Friday 2021? Also, why is it called that, anyway?

The biggest shopping day of the year is close at hand. But when is Black Friday 2021, and how did it get that name anyway?
October 24, 2021
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Friday is usually a bright day of the week. Most people ending are their work week and looking forward to having fun on Friday night and the weekend. However, for one Friday every year, that day means something else entirely. It’s happening again with Black Friday 2021.

Black Friday has turned into one of the single biggest shopping days in the US and other countries. Retailers cut prices to the bone on products like smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other electronics products. However, Black Friday meant something different when it first originated many decades ago.

Not only will we answer the question of what Black Friday is, but of course, we will let you know when Black Friday 2021 is happening — it’s not that far away. In fact, you can get Black Friday-style deals a few weeks before the big event right now.

Read more: What is Amazon Prime Day?

When is Black Friday 2021?

You may be wondering when Black Friday 2021 occurs. This year, it happens on Friday, November 26, 2021. It’s the day after Thanksgiving in the US.

Myths about Black Friday

There are a couple of myths about how the term “Black Friday” got started. One is that Black Friday is the date where many major retailers finally see a profit for the year. That’s sometimes called being “in the black” (instead of  “in the red”) due to all of the holiday shopping that starts on that day.

Another myth claims Black Friday was created by 19th-century Southern slaveowners. The myth claims the slaveowners could reportedly buy slaves on the Friday after Thanksgiving at a discount. Some people have actually used this myth as an excuse to boycott shopping on that day. Thankfully, this explanation was disproved.

The real origin of Black Friday

As it turns out, the use of the “Black Friday” phrase came about somewhat outside of holiday shopping. As posted by, it was first used by the police in Philadelphia during the 1950s. During that period, the annual Army-Navy football game would be held in that city on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That’s because Philadelphia was between where the Army and Navy academies were located. However, on the Friday before the big Army-Navy game, Philadelphia police had to deal with tons of tourists who came to the city to see the game the next day.

Many of those visitors would spend time in the city shopping in stores. This meant the police had to deal with larger crowds in those locations, along with a larger than normal amount of shoplifters. The police started calling that annual crush of people and thieves “Black Friday.”

The term “Black Friday” was mostly used in Philadelphia until sometime in the 1980s. Around that time, retailers in other parts of the US slowly started using the myth of their businesses going into a profit for the year on that shopping date. From then on, “Black Friday” was used not in a negative way. Instead, it was used as a time for both retailers and shoppers to celebrate the unofficial start of the holiday buying season.

The use of the term “Black Friday” as a shopping event really started taking off in the US during the 2000s, and since then countries like the UK, Mexico, and Australia have all adopted it.

Will stores close on Thanksgiving 2021?

Up until a few years ago, most major brick-and-mortar stores in the US shut their doors on Thanksgiving. They opened very early the next day to begin their Black Friday sales. More recently, many retail stores stayed open on Thanksgiving to launch their holiday sales. In addition, other retailers now launch Black Friday-based price cuts online on Thanksgiving or even a few days before.

Due in part to the coronavirus outbreak, some major store chains actually closed their doors on Thanksgiving in the US in 2020 for the first time in several years. This year a number of major retailers will once again shut their doors for Thanksgiving 2021. They include:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • Kohl’s
  • Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Walmart

So far we have yet to learn when those stores plan to open again on Black Friday. In addition, Simon Properties, which operates a number of major shopping malls in the US, will close them on Thanksgiving Day. Stores inside those malls will set their own Black Friday opening times.

While Black Friday is not an official national holiday, many states in the US observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday for their employees. This makes the Thanksgiving holiday a four-day weekend for a lucky few.

Hopefully, you now know when Black Friday 2021 happens this year (November 26, in case you missed it). You also know now where the term came from and how it spread and morphed into the biggest single shopping event of the year.