You may have heard of Black Friday, but on the flipside of the Thanksgiving holiday is its mirror image,Black Wednesday. Instead of a day invented by marketing firms and ad agencies to sell marked-up-and-slashed-down consumer goods, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving probably organically developed its reputation as the biggest drinking night of the year.
There’s no hard evidence to back up the statement that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night, but there’s plenty of anecdotal information floating around. Bar owners in nearly every U.S. city say they expect a huge sales bump on that Wednesday night; police forces around the country offer special anti-drunk-driving programs and set up extra checkpoints on that eve; and new car service or designated driver smartphone apps like Uber and StearClear roll out special promotions and partnerships for the night.
Why is Thanksgiving Eve a big party night? It’s the perfect storm for drinking fun. Here are a few factors:
1) Nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off. Unless you’re in the foodservice industry (and recently, in some retail positions), this is a holiday celebrated across the land. No religious overtones, no need to be from any specific culture — it’s a holiday for all of the U.S.
2) No one wants to entertain the night before hosting a big Thanksgiving meal. Will all the effort going into the big day, the night before the turkey is carved is a time for respite and relaxation. Spend Thursday in front of the stove, take Wednesday night off.
3) Everyone is home for the holidays and wants to see old friends. While you are likely to be sequestered with your family on Thanksgiving itself, the night before offers a chance to get out and catch up with others returning to the area you grew up in. Kids are home from college, folks who have moved away return to where other family is, and Thanksgiving Eve is the perfect opportunity to see each other.
4) Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect hangover cure. With plenty of starches and rich, fatty foods, Thursday’s meal is good for taking the edge off if you happen to tie one on the night before, and it’s often eaten early in the day. Plus, that tryptophan-laden turkey will set you up for a nice post-dinner nap. (Note: this urban myth has been debunked — many other foods are higher in L-tryptophan than turkey; it’s probably over-eating all that other food that makes you sleepy. But it’s still a great excuse.)
There’s plenty to do on Thanksgiving Eve, as bars everywhere host parties and offer drink specials (check for our roundup of what to do in your city, coming soon). If you do go out, please be careful, don’t over drink, and definitely don’t drive. Do have a blast with friends old and new. Happy Thanksgiving!