Good Friday is a religious holiday observed by Christians around the world. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week and tends to occur around the same time as Passover. It is a solemn holiday of fasting and remembrance, it is also considered to be the “celebration of the Passion of the Christ.”
It is commonly believed that Crucifixion of Jesus was on a Friday in April circa AD 33.
Good Friday 2013 will fall on March 29, 2013.
The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, which typically entails one full meal without meat. In the past, many countries did not allow their citizens to work on Good Friday, but since the rise of globalization this occurrence is rare. As a result, many services on the day are postponed until after 3 pm.
After 3 pm the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place. It is also often called the “Three Hours Agony,” recognizing the amount of time Christ spent upon the cross before he expired. Priests adorn themselves in colors of red and black and lead candlelit prayer vigils. Black cloth is also draped over figures of the Christ and crosses within churches.
Good Friday around the World
Good Friday is considered to be a public/federal holiday in Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the countries of the Caribbean, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. These countries grant their citizens the day off from work officially.
In the United States, although not a national holiday, 11 states observe Good Friday as state holiday. The states in which Good Friday is a state holiday are Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Good Friday Rituals of Note
In Bermuda, Easter kites are flown.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.
In March 2012, as encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI, it was decreed by the Communist Party and Castro and his advisers that in 2012, Good Friday would be made a holiday.
Despite its predominately Muslim population, Good Friday is still a national holiday in Indonesia. In addition to all government offices, schools and certain businesses being closed on Good Friday by law, many newspapers choose not to publish on this day.
Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country (and one that loves its alcohol), does not allow any alcohol to be sold on Good Friday. All pubs and many restaurants in Ireland close down. Yet, because it is not an official “bank holiday,” many business stay open for the duration.
In Germany, comedic theatre performances and events which include public dancing are illegal on Good Friday; however, movie theaters and television are not affected by this rule. Even sports events are prohibited.
Like in France and Ireland, with the rise of secularism the enforcement of these rules has met with increased opposition in the last decade.
Although these practices are condemned as a whole by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy, the Good Friday occurrences in the Philippines are the most extreme worldwide. Filipino Christians hold processions in the streets and enact plays that recreate the events of Christ’s final day. Devoted Christians allow themselves to be whipped and beaten, and a few even get themselves nailed to a cross, to demonstrate their faithfulness towards God.
It is a national bank holiday in the UK, and many business do close down for the duration; however, many retail stores stay open. Furthermore, there is no horse racing on Good Friday in the UK.
Also, traditionally, a pastry known as a hot cross bun are traditionally toasted and eaten on Good Friday in Britain – the crosses are symbolic for obvious reasons. They are small rolls baked with a cross on top of them.
Furthermore, there is no horse racing on Good Friday in the UK.ed States