Good Friday is both a religious occasion and a public holiday in the Philippines, where most people follow the Christian faith. It occurs two days before Easter Sunday.
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.
What Do People Do?
Good Friday is a part of the religious holiday week in the lead up to Easter Sunday in the Philippines. This is the time when many Filipinos refrain from engaging in worldly activities such as listening to loud music or drinking alcohol. Most Catholics refrain from eating meat during this day and engage in fasting and prayer.
Many people also attend church services and take part in the Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ or the Station of the Cross. The Station of The Cross depicts the last hours of the Passion of Jesus, and the Filipinos use these stations to meditate on Jesus’ sufferings. Some men in different localities in the Philippines re-enact the penance of Jesus Christ by going as far as crucifying themselves on the cross.
Masses (church services) are also held in the church before 3pm (or 15:00) local time since this symbolizes the time that Jesus Christ died on the cross. Once the clock strikes 3pm (15:00), people observe this moment in silence and solemnity. Good Friday is a time when people take part in a form of penance to repent from their sins. Some Filipinos spend time at the beach during the holiday.
Government offices, schools and most major establishments such as shopping malls are closed on Good Friday. Holiday destinations such as beaches and hotels are busy with tourists and travelers. public transport is reduced so those wishing to travel will need to plan ahead of time.
The Philippines used to be a pagan country, in which people believed in spirits. When the Spanish came to spread Christianity during the 15th century, many Filipinos were converted to Christianity. The Spaniards made a show of having processions and mass celebrations to entice Filipinos to embrace Christianity. This marked the origins of the Good Friday observance in the Philippines. timeanddate.com has more information on how Good Friday is observed globally and how the Easter date is determined.
Good Friday is symbolized by the cross, as it commemorates the belief that Jesus Christ suffered and sacrificed his own life to save humanity.