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Good Friday in Australia

Good Friday is a religious and national holiday in Australia, and is held on the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Is Good Friday a Public Holiday?

Good Friday is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Humble Wooden Cross with Bright Sunburst

Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday.

©iStockphoto.com/tiburonstudios

What Do People Do?

In Australia, Good Friday is the start of a four-day weekend and falls during the Easter school holidays. Many people take a short vacation around this time, often within Australia. Others take the opportunity to spend time with their family or friends.

Members of different churches mark the day in various ways. Some churches, especially Catholic churches, see Good Friday as a fast day and people only eat three small meals and, often, no meat at all. Some people substitute meat with fish. Many churches hold special services and some may hold long prayer vigils.

Traditionally, people eat hot cross buns on Good Friday. These are small, bread-like buns flavored with spices and raisins or currants. Some modern recipes add cocoa to the dough and replace the dried fruit with chocolate chips. All hot cross buns are marked on the top with a cross. The cross is sometimes cut into the top of the bun and sometimes made with a different, paler dough. Some people eat hot cross buns just as they are and others split them in half, toast them, spread them with butter, jam or cream  and eat them warm.

A lot of sporting events are held on or start on Good Friday. The Three Peaks Race in Tasmania starts in the afternoon of Good Friday. This event is three-tiered , consisting of a section to be sailed and a section to be walked or run. During the sailing sections, all members of a given team sail a set course down Tasmania's west coast. During each of the running or walking sections, two members of each team leave their boat and run or walk up and then down one of three mountains. Other well-known sporting events that start on Good Friday are the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race and the Easter Racing Carnival in Sydney.

Public Life

On Good Friday schools, post offices and many other organizations are closed. Stores and other retail outlets are closed. Some small or specialty stores may be open, according to local policy. There were traditionally tight restrictions on alcohol sale on Good Friday. Stores may not sell any alcoholic drinks and pubs may have restricted opening hours. However, there have been moves to relax the laws in some states.

Public transport services are often restricted or may not run at all. As many people take a short vacation at this time of year, there may be substantial congestion on major roads and airports may be very busy.

Background

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is a day of mourning for Christians. It is a very important day in church calendars, as the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are central events in Christian beliefs. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

For many people who are members of other faiths or are not particularly observant, Good Friday is not a day of religious observance, but the start of a four-day weekend at the end of the summer. For some, it is a good opportunity to take a short vacation or spend time with family or friends. Others use the time to carry out maintenance on their homes or cars or to attend sporting events.

About Good Friday in other countries

Read more about Good Friday.

Good Friday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010FriApr 2Good FridayNational Holiday 
2011FriApr 22Good FridayNational Holiday 
2012FriApr 6Good FridayNational Holiday 
2013FriMar 29Good FridayNational Holiday 
2014FriApr 18Good FridayNational Holiday 
2015FriApr 3Good FridayNational Holiday 
2016FriMar 25Good FridayNational Holiday 
2017FriApr 14Good FridayNational Holiday 
2018FriMar 30Good FridayNational Holiday 
2019FriApr 19Good FridayNational Holiday 
2020FriApr 10Good FridayNational Holiday 

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