Black Friday, Americans’ favourite day of shopping, falls each year on the fourth Friday of November. Because it’s the day after Thanksgiving, which is a public holiday in the US, the event can often seem like a full-fledged holiday–even though Americans generally don’t get the day off to celebrate it.

This year, Black Friday falls on 24 November 2017 and Cyber Monday is just a few days later on 27 November 2017. While it used to be a single, intense 24h day of deals, the event has grown to be so popular that it’s now a full weekend of shopping.

Save the Dates

Year Date
Black Friday 2017 November 24th, 2017
Black Friday 2018 November 23rd, 2018
Black Friday 2019 November 29th, 2019
Black Friday 2020 November 27th, 2020

Black Friday and the Countdown to Christmas

It’s no surprise that Black Friday has become the biggest shopping event of the year in the States. Occurring just about a month before Christmas, it is treated by many North Americans–retailers and shoppers alike–as the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

While most Australians are well aware that American Thanksgiving falls towards the end of November, few likely know the full extent to which the holiday is officially linked to the Christmas shopping season. In fact, in the 1930s, the relationship between the two holidays actually caused a national controversy.

By the 1930s, the tradition of starting holiday advertising the day after Thanksgiving had already become an entrenched part of American retail culture. The problem was that back then, Thanksgiving was officially on the last Thursday of November, which sometimes would fall during the fourth week of the month (four weeks before Christmas) and occasionally during the fifth week of the month (three weeks before Christmas). This meant that some years, the shopping season would sometimes be a week shorter than usual. 1939 was one of those years and retailers were disappointed with the looming prospect of a shortened shopping season. Since the United States was in a period of recession, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn’t pleased either and he made an official proclamation stating that Thanksgiving would be on the fourth Thursday of the month instead from then on.