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White Friday! The "Friday" of The Middle East

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Written by   100
1 year ago

In the Arabic culture, Black is ominous color. (No not the skin color, many of us are actually black people.) It depends on the context, but we tend to avoid using the word Black to describe positive concepts, especially if we're talking about sale that should "help you save money."

I first heard about Black Friday a few years ago. The last Friday of November is just another day in Libya. (I believe it's USA only event?) I wouldn't have heard about it if not for Amazon.

So, when I talked about it in front of my parents one day, they didn't like the idea of associating the word Black with the day Friday, (which is our national weekend and the Islamic sacred day.)

The association of the color Black with bad omen was prevalent in Libya before I was born. Where I live, the old people call Coal: "بياض", which means "White one." The black coal it warms them in winter, they don't want to associate it with bad omen so they flip the naming.

We still don't refer to Black people with the word أسوَد we usually tone it down to أسمر which means a darker brown instead. This is a Libyan cultural things where I live, (Tripoli.) I don't know if they do that anywhere else.

Whether all of this is an unfounded superstition is a discussion for another day.

When I think about it, they have a point. In the context of our culture, we shouldn't use the word Black so casually. At least when I talk with older people, as my generation and those who are younger than me don't find a problem at all.

But I still called it Black Friday, because what else should I call it?! White Friday? That's Stupi- Huh?!! is one of Amazon corporations that deals with Middle East. Mainly with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE. is basically an Amazon market that panders to the Arabic culture. (Souq/سوق Actually means Market.)

Since most of their prices are the same or higher than the US store, I don't use it. But one thing I noticed last year was that they have the same Black Friday Sales from with the only difference being the name: White Friday/الجمعة البيضاء. (The page URL has "white" in it too.)

So, Is Black Friday officially White here in Middle East?

I don't know, but it shows that Amazon/Souq marketers understand one basic thing. Cultural differences can break the whole sale if they didn't localize the name. Costumers are not expected to research the meaning behind the name. If someone like my parents stumbled upon the website for the first time and found Black Friday Sales, they'll probably won't be as interested as when they see White Friday. (I would too, to a lesser degree.)

The thing is: White/أبيض is associated with positivity where I live. Probably in the other parts of the Arab Word too. (You can flip what I said about the Black Color above and apply the result to the color white.)

It's funny how this whole thing is based on one word and a cultural difference. Cultures comparison is really interesting.

What Do You Think?

I do love the sales of Black Friday though, and I've been keeping up with the online sales since three years ago. (Mostly Cyber Monday sales which come after but they're on the same week.) What about you?

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Written by   100
1 year ago
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