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Good Friday in France

Good Friday (Le Vendredi saint) falls two days before Easter Sunday. It is an occasion for many Christians in France to remember the sacrifices Jesus made and his crucifixion. It is a public holiday in some parts of France.

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.

Depiction of Jesus carrying the cross up the hill.
The cross is a popular Christian symbol that is often seen on Good Friday.
The cross is a popular Christian symbol that is often seen on Good Friday.
©iStockphoto.com/wwing

What Do People Do?

Observant Christians, particularly in the Alsace region, take time to attend special church services. However, church bells are not rung. Some people do not eat any meat or fast totally. For other people, Good Friday is a normal working day. Easter Monday is a public holiday in France so some people leave for a short vacation or trip to visit family members on Good Friday.

Public Life

Good Friday is not a public holiday in many parts of France. However, schools and other educational establishments are closed on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Good Friday is a public holiday in some parts of Alsace and Lorraine.

Good Friday is also a public holiday in some areas close to the German border and the overseas departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses may be closed or have limited opening hours.

Background

Good Friday is the culmination of a week in which many events in Jesus' life are remembered, according to Christian belief. People commemorate his crucifixion on Good Friday. The crucifixion is an important event for Christians, as they feel it represents the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. Christianity was introduced to France between 300 CE and 400 CE at the time of the Roman Empire.

Symbols

Simple crosses, often made of twigs or palm fronds, and images of Jesus on the cross are common symbols of Good Friday. In some areas, people eat Brioche du Carême. These are small rolls made of bread containing dried fruit and marked with a cross. They are similar to the hot cross buns eaten on Good Friday in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

About Good Friday in other countries

Read more about Good Friday.

Good Friday Observances

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

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