Good Friday

Good Friday

). Pilate authorizes the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own Law and execute sentencing, however the Jewish leaders reply that they are not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (). Pilate's wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day; she forewarns Pilate to "have nothing to do with this righteous man" (). The sentence written is "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Jesus carries his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the place of the Skull, or "Golgotha" in Hebrew and in Latin "Calvary". There he is crucified along with two criminals (; ). Pilate asks confirmation from the centurion whether Jesus is dead ().

Joseph of Arimathea takes the body of Jesus, wraps it in a clean linen shroud, and places it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (, ] After three o'clock in the afternoon of Good Friday (the time at which Jesus is traditionally believed to have died), noise is discouraged, some radio stations and television stations sign off, businesses automatically close, and the faithful are urged to keep a very solemn and prayerful disposition through to Easter Sunday.

Major television networks are paid to broadcast events at Roman Catholic parishes. These events include the reading of the "Seven Last Words", the recitation of the Stations of the Cross, and the service of the "Commemoration of the Lord's Passion".

Churches of Byzantine tradition

Byzantine Christians (Eastern Christians who follow the Rite of Constantinople: Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholics) call this day "Holy and Great Friday", or simply "Great Friday".

Because of the penitence and sorrow associated with the Crucifixion, the Divine Liturgy is never celebrated on Great Friday, except when this day coincides with the Great Feast of the Annunciation, which falls on the fixed date of March 25 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, March 25 currently falls on April 7 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). Also on Great Friday, the clergy no longer wear the purple or red that is customary throughout Great Lent, [There is a wide variety of uses regarding the colors worn during Great Lent and Holy Week in the Rite of Constantinople.] but don black vestments instead. There is no "stripping of the altar" on Maundy Thursday as in the West; instead, all of the church hangings are changed to black, and will remain so until the Divine Liturgy on Great Saturday.

The faithful revisit the events of the day through public reading of specific Psalms and the Gospels, and singing hymns about Christ's death. Rich visual imagery and symbolism as well as stirring hymnody are remarkable elements of these observances. In the Orthodox understanding, the events of Holy Week are not simply an annual commemoration of past events, but the faithful actually participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Each hour of this day is the new suffering and the new effort of the expiatory suffering of the Savior. And the echo of this suffering is already heard in every word of our worship service - unique and incomparable both in the power of tenderness and feeling and in the depth of the boundless compassion for the suffering of the Savior. The Holy Church opens before the eyes of believers a full picture of the redeeming suffering of the Lord beginning with the bloody sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane up to the crucifixion on Golgotha. Taking us back through the past centuries in thought, the Holy Church brings us to the foot of the cross of Christ erected on Golgotha, and makes us present among the quivering spectators of all the torture of the Savior.] cite web|url =| title = Good Friday |publisher = United Methodist Church|accessdate = 2007-03-21]

Some Baptist, Pentecostal, many Sabbatarian and non-denominational churches do not celebrate Good Friday, instead observing the Crucifixion on Wednesday to coincide with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb (which Christians believe is an Old Testament pointer to Jesus Christ). A Wednesday Crucifixion of Jesus Christ allows for Christ to be in the tomb (heart of the earth) for three days and three nights as he told the Pharisees he would be (Matthew 12:40), rather than two nights and a day if he died on Friday.

Customs associated with Good Friday

In many countries with a strong Christian tradition such as Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, the countries of the Caribbean, Germany, Malta, Australia, New Zealand [Holidays Act 2003 (New Zealand), Section 17 [ Days that are public holidays] ] [Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 (New Zealand), Section 3 [ Shops to be closed on Anzac Day morning, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day] ] [Broadcasting Act 1989 (New Zealand), Section 79A [ Hours during which election programmes prohibited] , Section 81 [ Advertising hours] ] and the United Kingdom, the day is observed as a public or federal holiday.

In many English-speaking countries, most shops are closed for the day and advertising from television and radio broadcasts is withdrawn to some degree.

In Canada, banks and government offices (at all levels) and public sector businesses are closed, along with most private sector businesses (except in Quebec).

In Hong Kong, all businesses and government offices are closed for a public holiday.

In the United States, Good Friday is not a government holiday. Private businesses and certain other institutions may close or not for Good Friday, according to their preferences. The stock market is closed on Good Friday. However, the vast majority of businesses are open on Good Friday. Some public schools may incidentally be closed on Good Friday because of the proximity of secular "spring break" holidays. The postal service operates, and banks regulated by the federal government do close for Good Friday.
Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, prohibits all alcohol from being sold on Good Friday. The day is a bank holiday, but not a public holiday. All pubs and many restaurants in Ireland close for the duration of the day. It is similar to Christmas Day in this regard. This tradition has come under criticism of late, with secular businesses claiming a loss in earnings by way of a religious festival. Many people cross the border to Northern Ireland to shop or visit pubs or restaurants.

In Germany, comedic theater performances and events which include public dancing are illegal on the day (although this restriction is enforced unevenly); cinemas and television are not affected, although many TV channels show religious material on the day. The enforcement of these rules even on non-Christians has met with increased opposition in the last decade.

In South Africa, the government regulates the opening of businesses and entertainment outlets on this day (as with Christmas Day). All government offices, schools and certain businesses are closed on Good Friday by law. The buying and selling of alcohol is prohibited.

In India, Good Friday is a Central Government as well as a State holiday, although Stock Markets are usually closed. Some other businesses are also closed in states where Christians are in the majority like Assam, Goa, and Kerala "(higher percentage of Christians, even though not the majority)" but the majority of businesses are open on Good Friday in rest of the country. Most schools are closed on Good Friday.

In Muslim-majority Indonesia, Good Friday is a national holiday. All government offices, schools and certain businesses are closed on Good Friday by law and many newspapers choose not to publish on this day. Public holiday is also observed in Singapore and in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Eastern Orthodox Christians are not supposed to eat at all on this day and the next, while the Roman Catholic Church observes fasting and abstinence for this day as well as Ash Wednesday.

In many English speaking countries, hot cross buns are eaten.

In Bermuda, kites are flown. They are often handmade with wooden sticks, colorful tissue paper, glue, and string. The shape of the kite and the use of wood is meant to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on. Also, the kite flying in the sky symbolizes his ascension to heaven.

Traditionally, Roman Catholics are to abstain from eating meat every Friday of the year as penance. Nowadays, this is only a requirement during Fridays of Lent; during Fridays of the rest of the year, other methods of penance may be followed, for example an extra prayer. As a modern tradition, many Roman Catholics (and members of other Christian denominations as well) will eat fish and vegetables on Good Friday.

There is no horse racing on Good Friday in the UK. However, in 2008, betting shops will open for the first time. The BBC has for many years introduced its 7 am News broadcast on Radio 4 on Good Friday with a verse from Isaac Watts' hymn "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross".

In Sweden, Good Friday - as well as Easter Monday - is a national holiday. Some shops are open a few hours in the morning. People not particularly religious use Good Friday as a day of meeting relatives. The biggest community, Church of Sweden, does not celebrate Mass and therefore no Eucharist is distributed. Linked below is an English description of the Good Friday service. [ [ GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE] ]

Calculating the Date of Good Friday

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, which is calculated differently in Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity (see Computus for details). Easter falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, the full moon on or after 21 March, taken to be the date of the vernal equinox. The Western calculation uses the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern calculation uses the Julian calendar, whose 21 March now corresponds to the Gregorian calendar's 3 April. The calculations for identifying the date of the full moon also differ. See [ Easter Dating Method] (Astronomical Society of South Australia).

Because Easter in Western Christianity can fall between March 22 and April 25 on the Gregorian calendar, Good Friday can fall between March 19 and April 22, inclusive. In Eastern Christianity, Easter can fall between March 22 and April 25 on Julian Calendar (thus between April 4 and May 8 in terms of the Gregorian calendar, during the period 1900 and 2099), so Good Friday can fall between March 19 and April 22, inclusive (or between April 1 and May 5 in terms of the Gregorian calendar). (See Easter.)

See also

*Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ
*Easter/Good Friday controversy
*Good Friday Prayer
*Good Friday Prayer for the Jews
*The Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement

Related Holy Days

* Easter season
* Easter Monday
* Ascension
* Pentecost


External links

* [ Good Friday on RE:Quest]
* [ The Eastern Orthodox commemoration of Holy Friday]
* [ Great Friday] instructions from S. V. Bulgakov's "Handbook for Church Servers" (Russian Orthodox Church)
* [ "Good Friday"] article from "The Catholic Encyclopedia"
* [,32,49 Where Does the Term "Good Friday" Come From?] United Methodist Church
* [ Episcopal Good Friday Service]
* [ Presbyterian Good Friday Service]
* [ Good Friday hymns] at [] (Coptic Orthodox Church)
* [ Koenick v Felton] legal case -- states' right to have Good Friday State Holiday upheld by US Court of Appeals (
* [ The Text This Week: Good Friday]
* [ Good Friday experiment] , a test conducted on Good Friday, 1962, at Boston University to determine the usefulness of psilocybin for facilitating mystical experience.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Good Friday — • The Friday on which the Church keeps the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Good Friday     Good Friday      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Good Friday — Good Good, a. [Compar. {Better}; superl. {Best}. These words, though used as the comparative and superlative of good, are from a different root.] [AS. G[=o]d, akin to D. goed, OS. g[=o]d, OHG. guot, G. gut, Icel. g[=o][eth]r, Sw. & Dan. god, Goth …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Good Friday — late 13c., from GOOD (Cf. good) in M.E. sense of holy, also especially of holy days or seasons observed by the church (early 15c.); the word also was applied to Christmas and Shrove Tuesday …   Etymology dictionary

  • Good Friday — n [U and C] the Friday before the Christian holiday of Easter, that Christians remember as the day Jesus Christ was crucified …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Good Friday — noun count or uncount the Friday before Easter, which Christians remember as the day that Jesus Christ died …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Good Friday — ► NOUN ▪ the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Crucifixion of Christ is commemorated in the Christian Church …   English terms dictionary

  • Good Friday — n. the Friday before Easter Sunday, observed in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus …   English World dictionary

  • Good Friday — the Friday before Easter, a holy day of the Christian church, observed as the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus. [1250 1300; ME] * * * Friday before Easter, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus. As early as the 2nd century it was kept by… …   Universalium

  • Good Friday —    It is startling that this, the most mournful day in the Christian calendar, is a cheerful Bank Holiday, and a traditional date for various games such as *skipping and *marbles. Traditionally, it was the day for certain tasks in the vegetable… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Good Friday —    The Last Friday in Lent on which we commemorate the Death of our Lord. It is called Good Friday from the blessed results of our Saviour s sufferings, for by the shedding of His own most precious Blood He obtained eternal Redemption for us. It… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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