Orthodox Good Friday in the United States
Orthodox Christian churches in the United States generally observe Good Friday at a later date than the Good Friday date observed by many western churches. Good Friday focuses on Jesus Christ’s death, which is described in the Christian bible. The day is also known as Great Friday, Holy Friday, and Holy and Great Friday.
What Do People Do?
Great Friday is a strict day of fasting for many Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States. Some Orthodox churches begin observing Holy Friday on Thursday night where the liturgy’s main feature is the reading of 12 sections from the gospels, all of which are accounts of Jesus Christ’s passion. Other churches may have a Good Friday liturgy in the evening. Some priests remove icons of Jesus from crosses and wrap them in linen to reenact ancient burial rites.
Some Orthodox Bulgarian churches have special traditions, which include allowing people to pass under a table in the middle of the church and light a candle after the church bell rings. This ritual is believed to wash away one’s sins. Many families of the Orthodox Christian faith may spend time on Great Friday to decorate Easter eggs as part of the Easter preparations.
Great Friday is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However parking conditions may be affected near churches where Great Friday liturgies are held, particularly in busy urban areas.
Many Orthodox churches retained the Julian calendar after the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Europe in 1582. Therefore they often follow a different Easter date compared with many western churches. Easter holidays, such as Good Friday, are “moveable feasts” as these dates change according to calendar calculations.
There are different types of Orthodox churches that are well-established in the United States, including the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America can be traced back to the late 18th century, where a Russian church was built on Kodiak Island in Alaska during that period. Alaska was previously part of Russia until the United States bought the land. The number of Greek Orthodox churches grew as Greek immigration increased after the late 19th century in the United States.
Many Orthodox Christian families prepare Easter eggs, which are beautifully decorated and often dyed red to symbolize the Jesus Christ’s blood.
About Orthodox Good Friday in other countriesRead more about Orthodox Good Friday.
Orthodox Good Friday Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where it is Observed|
|Fri||Apr 2||2010||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 22||2011||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 13||2012||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||May 3||2013||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 18||2014||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 10||2015||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 29||2016||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 14||2017||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 6||2018||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 26||2019||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
|Fri||Apr 17||2020||Orthodox Good Friday||Orthodox|
Quick FactsMany Orthodox Christians in the United States remember the events leading up to Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Great Friday.
Orthodox Good Friday 2016Friday, April 29, 2016
Orthodox Good Friday 2017Friday, April 14, 2017
Name in other languages
|Orthodox Good Friday||English|
|Viernes Santo Ortodoxo||Spanish|
|יום שישי טוב אורתודוקסי||Hebrew|
|الأرثوذكسية الجمعة العظيمة||Arabic|
|정교회 성 금요일||Korean|
- Orthodox Holy Saturday – Saturday, April 30, 2016
- Orthodox Easter – Sunday, May 1, 2016
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, May 2, 2016
Other holidays in April 2016 in the United States
- Pascua Florida Day – Friday, April 1, 2016
- Pascua Florida Day – Saturday, April 2, 2016
- National Tartan Day – Wednesday, April 6, 2016
- National Library Workers' Day – Tuesday, April 12, 2016
- Thomas Jefferson's Birthday – Wednesday, April 13, 2016
- Father Damien Day – Friday, April 15, 2016
- Emancipation Day – Saturday, April 16, 2016
- Tax Day – Monday, April 18, 2016
- San Jacinto Day – Thursday, April 21, 2016
- Oklahoma Day – Friday, April 22, 2016
- Passover (first day) – Saturday, April 23, 2016
- Confederate Memorial Day – Monday, April 25, 2016
- State Holiday – Tuesday, April 26, 2016
- Administrative Professionals Day – Wednesday, April 27, 2016
- Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – Thursday, April 28, 2016
- Arbor Day – Friday, April 29, 2016
- Last Day of Passover – Saturday, April 30, 2016