The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. This is the day that merchants, especially big ones like Walmart, throw their doors open in the wee hours of the morning offering fantastic bargains on just about everything. Some people actually camp out overnight in the parking lots of some stores. When the doors open people stampede into the stores to be the first ones to grab the best bargains. Some people are even injured in the stampede, but they feel it's worth it. Personally I think these people are a bunch of nuts, but that is only my opinion. If Black Friday is a success and it produces a high volume of sales, this could mean a successful Christmas shopping season and a much needed boost to the economy. Black Friday has become a harbinger of the Christmas holidays.
I can remember when I was younger the day after Thanksgiving meant that all of the Christmas decorations would be out in the malls and stores. Artificial Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and anything and everything pertaining to Christmas transformed the city. Even the weather changed to colder temperatures. I guess I should be politically correct and change all references about "Christmas" to "holiday", but forget it. It's has always been Christmas and will always be Christmas. It you're offended, tough. The Christmas season officially begins.
When I first moved to Malaysia I thought I would miss the atmosphere and celebrations of Christmas and other holidays. I was wrong. On Halloween the malls are elaborately decorated with Halloween themes and Halloween candy can be found in the grocery stores. Kids here don't trick or treat, but the adults and older kids attend Halloween parties at local bars and clubs. We don't have Thanksgiving here, so what signals the coming of Christmas? It's Halloween of course. Yes, I was amazed that after Halloween is over the Christmas trees and decorations come out. Even Christmas carols are heard in the malls. The Christmas shopping season started here even earlier in the United States.
I was surprised that some of our holidays are celebrated here and I enjoyed seeing the local people enjoy themselves. I remember asking the staff at my gym, who were decorating for Halloween, if they knew what the holiday was. They didn't have a clue. What is really surprising here is how enthusiastically Christmas is celebrated by the Malaysians. Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but the Chinese and the Westerners here really do Christmas up big time. They enjoy shopping and giving and receiving gifts. And of course the merchants love making big bucks. Once again I really doubt that people here know what Christmas is all about, except for the decorations, presents and parties. But wait a minute. I am sure that American kids today don't know what the hell Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas or any other American holiday is all about either!