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Good Friday in United States

Quick Facts

Good Friday commemorates Jesus Christ's crucifixion.

Local names

NameLanguage
Good FridayEnglish
Viernes SantoSpanish
יום שישי הטובHebrew
جمعة الآلامArabic
성금요일Korean
KarfreitagGerman

Good Friday 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015
List of dates for other years

Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday in the United States. It is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion, which plays an important part in the Christian faith. It is not a federal holiday in the United States, although it is a state holiday in some states.

Jesus Christ

Good Friday remembers the death of Jesus Christ.

©iStockphoto.com/kelly cline

What do people do?

Some Christians may attend special church services or prayer vigils. Good Friday is a day of mourning and quiet prayer for many Christians. The candles are often extinguished and statues, paintings and crosses may be draped in black, purple or gray cloth. Some Catholics treat Good Friday as a day of fasting, while others observe a partial fast involving the exclusion of meat.

Some homes keep a quiet atmosphere, with little or no outside activities and limited television, radio, and computer use, in observing Good Friday. Others choose to play music such as JS Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Some people bake hot cross buns, a traditional Good Friday sweet.

Good Friday is another day at work for many Americans, as it is not a national holiday. Some people may choose to take a day off work and have a long “Spring Break” weekend. In some states, employees are given a day off on Good Friday.

Public life

Good Friday is not an official holiday in the United States. Regular services will continue according the schedule in some areas, including Toledo, Ohio, where the city’s refuse will be collected during its regular schedule. However, financial markets, as well as many businesses, public schools and universities/colleges are closed on Good Friday.

Good Friday is a state holiday in some states such as Hawaii, where city and state offices are closed and some forms of public transport (eg. buses) run on the state holiday schedule.  In some areas, such as Perry County in Tennessee, Good Friday is a school holiday. Good Friday is a holiday designated by the governor as a day of fasting and prayer in Connecticut.

In accordance with state law, Indiana state employees are given a day off on Good Friday, a religious holiday. In 1999, in the case of Bridenbaugh v O'Bannon, an Indiana state employee sued the governor for giving state employees Good Friday as a day off. The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiff, stating that the government could give state employees a paid day off when that day is a religious holiday, including Good Friday, but only so long as the state can provide a valid secular purpose that coincides with the obvious religious purpose of the holiday.

Background

Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

This is an important event in Christianity, as it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus' life. The crucifixion was the culmination of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Some churches organize a prayer vigil on Good Friday for various causes, such as for cancer patients or for the American troops who have been sent to the middle-east.

Symbols

The crucifix, or cross, which represents the way Jesus died, is an important symbol seen on Good Friday. Some crosses bear a figure of Christ. Other symbols of Good Friday include black cloth used to cover the cross, paintings and statues in churches and some homes to signify mourning.

About Good Friday in other countries

Read more about Good Friday.

Good Friday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
FriApr 131990Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 291991Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 171992Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 91993Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 11994Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 141995Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 51996Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 281997Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 101998Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 21999Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 212000Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 132001Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 292002Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 182003Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 92004Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 252005Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 142006Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 62007Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 212008Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 102009Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 22010Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 222011Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 62012Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 292013Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 182014Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 32015Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 252016Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 142017Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriMar 302018Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 192019Good FridayState holiday14 states
FriApr 102020Good FridayState holiday14 states

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2014 in United States

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