The recent talk and use of the phrase “Black Friday” — the day following Thanksgiving, considered to be the busiest and most profitable shopping day of the year – made me wonder if there are other “black days” in popular usage and history. A little time on Google revealed a number of such days, each ranging in meaning and significance:
As mentioned above, the day after Thanksgiving may soon eclipse Turkey Day in its importance. Major retailers tout out deals too good to pass up, and in recent years shoppers do everything from camping out the night before to pepper spraying other shoppers in order to take advantage. Shopping related violence in recent years lends new meaning to the “Black.” For a history of Black Friday, click here.
Black Saturday refers to a series of devastating wildfires in the US (Yellowstone National Park, 1988) and Australia (Victoria State, 2009).
Saturday, October 27, 1962 marked the day that the United States and Soviet Union came closest to global nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was in its thirteenth day, and US President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev continued a face off over the presence of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. Tensions escalated when the Russians shot down a U-2 spy plane over Cuba, intercepted another over Siberia, and later two Navy reconnaissance planes over Cuba. The Soviets did not take kindly to the spying, and readied for a possible strike. Meanwhile, Kennedy issued an ultimatum to remove the missiles or Cuba would be invaded. Shortly after, a compromise was reached, avoiding a catastrophic war.
The title of a 1975 book by Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs) in which an Israeli commander races to stop a terrorist plot at a major sporting event (the Super Bowl in the 1977 film version)
Also, the day of a major dust storm on April 14, 1935 in the Great Plains states, during an era known as the Dust Bowl.
The name of an interesting group of people in Salt Lake City, UT who patrol the streets dressed as super heroes to deter crime. Here is an article about them.
Also, the day of a world wide stock market crash on October 19, 1987. “Black” often refers to disastrous days in stock market trading throughout history.
Speaking of the stock market, Black Tuesday is the day of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Preceded by a Black Thursday and Black Monday — which saw sharp declines in stock prices — the bottom fell out on October 29, sinking the US into an economic depression. The depression spread worldwide, becoming known as the Great Depression, and lasted until around the start of World War II.
Just as the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season, the night before is seen as the start of the holiday party season for teens and college students. With households stocked with alcoholic beverages, kids have easier accessible, making binge drinking and alcohol related crimes, injuries and death more likely. Read about it here.
With more retailers opening their stores to bargain hunters on Thanksgiving Day, a Black Thursday is coming into being a sort of holiday like Black Friday. Big sales start a day (or days) earlier than Friday, or different merchandise is up for grabs; an opportunity get extra bargains for consumers, and more cash for sellers. Read an article here.
Do you know of any other “black day” happening not listed here? Please post it in a comment below.