Black Friday (partying)

For other events, see List of Black Fridays.
Black Friday
Observed by United Kingdom
Celebrations Partying
Date Last Friday before Christmas
Frequency Annual
Related to Christmas

Black Friday, Mad Friday or Black Eye Friday is a nickname for the last Friday before Christmas in the United Kingdom.

It is the most popular night for office Christmas parties, which consequently makes it one of the busiest nights in the year for ambulances and the police.[1][2][3][4][5]


The day was originally known as Black Friday. From 2013, the press began to use the term Mad Friday[6][7] to avoid confusion with the American Black Friday in November, which was growing increasingly popular in the UK due to marketing by American retailers.

In parts of the United Kingdom, the day has been referred to as Black Eye Friday, due to unusually high number of fights that break out in bars, pubs and clubs in the area.[8][9][10]

It is sometimes called Builders' Friday, as it is the last day of work for many construction workers.

Safety concerns and preventive measures

In anticipation of the festivities, police and emergency services officials begin their preparations for Black Friday early in December. Ambulance trusts around the country plan and set up mobile "drunk tanks" in city centers to help lighten the load on hospitals and police cells.[11] Some of the higher end mobile units can treat up to 11 people at a time with eight beds, seats with restraint straps and two showers, and can cost up to £500,000.[11] In Manchester, temporary metal detectors, or "knife arches," are erected in the busiest parts of the city to assure the public that no weapons of any kind will be tolerated.[12]

Social Media

In December 2013, Greater Manchester Police promoted the hashtag #MadMancFriday to expose some of the embarrassing things that revellers would do, in the hopes of discouraging them from getting so publicly drunk again next year.[13]

Christian Nightlife Initiatives launched a "StaySafe" campaign to encourage responsible behavior via social media.[11]

Table of dates

Black Friday takes place every year on the last Friday before Christmas day.

Year Black Friday date
2016 23 December
2017 22 December
2018 21 December
2019 20 December
2020 18 December


  1. BBC News, 22 December 2007: "'Black Friday' keeps police busy" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  2. BBC News, 20 December 2008: "'Black Friday' keeps crews busy" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  3. The Guardian, 18 December 2008: "Ambulance service braced for 'Black Friday'" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  4. Nursing Times, 18 December 2008: "Warning over alcohol at christmas parties as 'Black Friday. for 999 calls looms" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  5. BBC News Wales, 17 December 2010: "Second snow band brings disruption across much of Wales" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  6. Daily Mail, 22 December 2013: "'Mad Friday' fallout: Emergency services inundated as drinkers descend on towns and cities on last weekend before Christmas" Linked 2014-12-05
  7. "'Mad Friday': Christmas revellers given alcohol warning". BBC News. 18 December 2015.
  8. The Cumberland News, 18 December 2008: "Cumbrian Police braced for Black Eye Friday" Archived December 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Re-linked 2014-12-05
  9. Cumbria Crack, 14 December 2011: "Police crackdown on violence in the countdown to ‘Black Eye Friday’" Re-linked 2014-12-05
  10. Real Whitby, 7 December 2012: Black Eyed Friday In Whitby Re-linked 2014-12-05
  11. 1 2 3 Harley, Nicola (December 19, 2014). "Mad Friday: How police and hospitals are preparing". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  12. "Greater Manchester Police prepare for 'Mad Friday'". BBC News. December 17, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  13. Bartlett, Evan (December 21, 2013). "Mad Friday: Binge-drinking, arrests and dancing with office chairs...Britain at its worst on its busiest night before Christmas". Metro News UK. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
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