International (quasi) Holidays: Buy Nothing Day
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International (quasi) Holidays: Buy Nothing Day

Information about Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day - the day after Thanksgiving (also known as the busiest shopping day of the year).

While not an official holiday, Buy Nothing Day is a day that captured my attention, due to its seeming reason for existence.

In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday -- the busiest shopping day of the year. It is well-known as the onset for the Christmas shopping season.

The origin of the term "Black Friday" is multi-layered, as is noted in Wikipedia - but as I have always understood the term, it is meant to denote the day that many retail businesses finally go from operating "in the red" to "in the black."

As a person who detests shopping, no matter how awesome the sales might be, Black Friday is a day that does not appeal to me. The crowds are absolute mayhem, and I have found that otherwise really nice people turn into human monsters - exhibiting some of the most atrocious levels of rudeness to which I have ever had the displeasure of bearing witness. Then again, I don't even like grocery shopping.

So reading about "Buy Nothing Day" (BND) was particularly interesting to me. The first BND was organized in Vancouver, Canada, in September of 1992 as a form of social protest against over-consumerism. The date was moved to Black Friday in 1997, which makes sense, given the spirit of commercialism and consumerism that surrounds Black Friday.

Some of the activities included in the day include cutting up credit cards, street parties, sit-ins, "zombie walks" (Participant ‘zombies’ wander around shopping malls or other consumer havens with a blank stare and marvel at the expressionless faces of the shoppers (their fellow zombies). When asked what they are doing participants describe Buy Nothing Day and explain its foundational principles); "whirl-marting" (Participants silently steer their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases), and many other activities.

The UK has a full Buy Nothing Day Website dedicated to BND promotion, with the ideals of BND noted on its FAQ page.

Buy Nothing Day is not about anti-shopping, or anti-Christmas, or even anti-consumerism when it comes right down to it. Buy Nothing Day is about social awareness that over-consumerism (20% of the world's wealthiest countries using up 80% of the earth's natural resources) is harmful to the global population.

While Buy Nothing Day is not an officially recognized holiday, I am of the opinion that it should be. Further, my feeling is that it should not be just a single day of recognition of over-consumerism; rather, it should be a lifestyle observation of the old adage about a life of moderation and respect for our earth.


Buy Nothing Day. Buy Nothing Day main page, BND FAQ page.

Wikipedia. Black Friday, In the red, In the black, Buy Nothing Day.

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Comments (1)

A great discussion. I think Buy Nothing Day was organised by Adbusters, the culture-jamming organization.