What Do People Do?
Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday. This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying. Many church services are held in the afternoon, usually around noon or midday to 3pm, to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by re-enacting the procession of the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life. Processions are held in many countries such as India, Italy, Malta, the Philippines, and Spain.
Kites that are often handmade are flown in Bermuda on Good Friday to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on, as well as his ascension into heaven. This custom dates back to the 19th century. Churches in countries, such as Belgium and Mexico, are draped in black on Good Friday in memory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many towns and villages. Many Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes. Egg decorating is also part of the Easter preparations in Poland and many other countries.
Good Friday is a public holiday in many countries including (but not exclusive to):
- Costa Rica.
- Dominican Republic.
- New Zealand.
- Serbia (Orthodox Good Friday).
- United Kingdom.
Good Friday is not a federal holiday in countries such as the United States, although it is a state holiday in some states, including Hawaii. Some people have a day off work on Good Friday in the Netherlands, while others work.
There are many theories as to why the day that remembers Jesus’ death on the cross is known as Good Friday. One school of thought is that Good Friday stems from the words “God’s Friday”, while others understand “good” in the sense of “observed as holy”. According to yet another interpretation, despite the horrors Jesus endured on that day, the event ultimately represents an act of love and constitutes one of the central and most cherished themes of Christianity: that Jesus died to pay the price for humankind's sins. Many Orthodox Christians call the day Great Friday. The day is also known as Black Friday or Sorrowful Friday, as well as Long Friday.
The Good Friday date is one of the oldest Christian holidays, with some sources saying that it has been observed since 100 CE. It was associated with fasting during the early years of its observance and was associated with the crucifixion around the fourth century CE. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.
Good Friday is celebrated in memory of Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death. The most important Good Friday symbol is the crucifix, or cross, which represents the way in which Jesus died. 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. In addition, some people deliberately create a bare appearance in their homes and churches by removing all flowers and shiny objects.
Quick FactsGood Friday is a global Christian observance two days before Easter Sunday.
Good Friday 2017
Switzerland – Friday, April 14, 2017 (All except Ticino, Valais)
138 countries – Friday, April 14, 2017
United States – Friday, April 14, 2017 (local in 13 states)
Good Friday 2018
Different dates in different countries
Name in other languages
|Велики Петак||Serbian (cyrillic)|
|Veliki Petak||Serbian (latin)|
|Aoine an Chéasta||Irish|