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Orthodox Good Friday in Canada

Many Orthodox Christian churches in Canada often 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.

Is Orthodox Good Friday a Public Holiday?

Orthodox Good Friday is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Good Friday is a time for many Orthodox Christians to remember Jesus' death on the cross.

©iStockphoto.com/Richard Goerg

What Do People Do?

Great Friday is a strict day of fasting for many Orthodox Christians in Canada. Some Orthodox churches may have a Good Friday liturgy in the afternoons or evenings and may include processions. Some priests remove icons of Jesus from crosses and wrap them in linen to reenact ancient burial rites. Some women also wear head coverings during the Holy Friday liturgies. Many families of the Orthodox Christian faith may spend time on Great Friday to decorate Easter eggs as part of the Easter preparations.

Public Life

Great Friday is not a federal public holiday in Canada. However parking conditions may be affected near churches where Great Friday liturgies are held, particularly in busy urban areas.

Background

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.

The term orthodox, derived from Greek, means “right teaching” or “right worship”, according to the National Defence and the Canadian Forces. The eastern Christian churches’ gradual adoption of the term reflects their view of the correctness of their position in doctrinal differences with the Roman Catholic Church.

There are different types of Orthodox churches across Canada. Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox churches spread in Canada as a result of immigration over the years.  Other eastern Orthodox churches include the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Symbols

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 countries

Read more about Orthodox Good Friday.

Orthodox Good Friday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015FriApr 10Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2016FriApr 29Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2017FriApr 14Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2018FriApr 6Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2019FriApr 26Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2020FriApr 17Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2021FriApr 30Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2022FriApr 22Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2023FriApr 14Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2024FriMay 3Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2025FriApr 18Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox

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