The holiday season is a time of joy and festivity. People get together to share good conversation, a home-cooked meal, and, oftentimes, an alcoholic beverage or two. From champagne to eggnog, alcohol is a favorite beverage at all types of holiday celebrations. But only one day has gained notoriety for a tradition of consuming it in large quantities – Blackout Wednesday.
What is Blackout Wednesday?
Blackout Wednesday is an unofficial holiday recognized as the day people drink the heaviest. It falls on the fourth Wednesday in November (the day before Thanksgiving). The name has significance for two reasons:
- Blackout Wednesday is a play on the name of another unofficial holiday, Black Friday. The latter refers to the day after Thanksgiving and is noted for being the busiest shopping day of the year. The two holidays mirror each other because they fall on either side of Thanksgiving Day and because they both celebrate excessive behavior.
- The term “blackout” refers to memory loss from alcohol intoxication. A person who drinks too much can lapse into a semi-conscious state. Then, after the intoxication subsides, the person is unable to remember what transpired. It is not unusual for someone experiencing a blackout to move about and communicate while in that condition.
Reasons Why People Drink More on this Day
The origins of Blackout Wednesday are unknown. Bar and restaurant promoters may have coined the phrase, hoping the idea would catch on with the public. Or it may have developed organically, like other ideas on social media. Regardless, it is easy to see why the holiday is popular:
Colleges and businesses close early. Nearly everyone kicks off their vacation on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Except for bar and restaurant employees, of course.
Interacting with relatives leads people to drink. Spending time with family can be a delight or a burden, as the case may be. Either way, people often turn to alcohol.
Four full days to recover. Unlike other holidays this time of year, Blackout Wednesday always comes right before a long weekend.
No reason to wake up early the next morning. Thanksgiving meals are usually served in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time to sleep in beforehand.
People want to dine out. Preparing another meal is the last thing a host wants to do right before Thanksgiving. Restaurants anticipate the crowds and drink specials abound.
In the end, the explanation for Blackout Wednesday’s popularity could just turn out to be circular in nature – people choose to drink more because the idea behind the holiday reinforces that choice.
The Dangers of Binge Drinking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 4 adults have had a “heaving drinking day” in the past year (defined as 5 or more drinks for men or 4 or more drinks for women). Consuming that amount of alcohol can have dire consequences, including:
- Accidents and injuries – Intoxication results in decreased motor skills and slower reaction times. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) claims lives every holiday season.
- Impaired judgment – Poor decision making can lead to undesirable or unsafe situations of all kinds.
- Violent or emotional behavior – Alcohol is often involved in instances of domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide.
- Alcohol poisoning – This life-threatening condition requires immediate action. Learn the signs and be ready to give assistance.
- Long-term health problems – Over time, alcohol use can cause irreversible damage to the liver, stomach, and heart.
Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly During the Holidays
Blackout Wednesday may just be a fun idea or a clever promotional strategy. But the fact remains: drinking alcohol to the point of memory loss is a serious matter. Please be safe and encourage your friends and family to do the same this holiday.
At The Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we want you to have a holiday season that is memorable for all the right reasons. But if you are involved in an accident during this time — whether it’s a vehicle crash, a slip or fall on an unsafe walkway, or injury from a dangerously designed product — contact The Injury Lawyer for a free initial consultation by calling (410) 625-4878 or by using our confidential online form.