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Good Friday in the United Kingdom

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is a public holiday in the United Kingdom. It falls just before Easter Sunday, which is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox.

Jesus Christ
Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
©iStockphoto.com/kelly cline

What Do People Do?

People who regularly attend church will probably attend a special church service on Good Friday. For other people, it is a day off work in the spring. Some people use the day to work in their gardens, while others take advantage of the long Easter weekend and the school holidays at this time of year to take a short vacation.

Many Catholics do not eat meat on Good Friday. This means that, in some areas, it is common to eat fish on this day. It is traditional for all denominations to eat hot cross buns. These are made of leavened dough, to which sugar, currants and spices have been added. The top of the bun is marked with a cross made of flour and water paste or rice paper. The buns are eaten as they are or split in half, toasted and spread with butter. There is a traditional rhyme about these buns, which is often used to teach children basic music notes.

Public Life

Good Friday is a public holiday. A lot of businesses and organizations are closed, although some stay open. Stores are generally open. Public transport systems may run to their usual or a different timetable. As many people have a four day weekend at Easter and choose to make trips, there can be some congestion on trains and the roads. There is no horse racing on Good Friday.


Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ following his time in the desert and his triumphal re-entrance into Jerusalem. This is a very important event in many Christian churches and is seen by some as the foundation of the Religion. Many churches hold special services on Good Friday to remind their congregations about Christ's suffering.  Good Friday falls on the Friday before the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.

It can seem strange that a day of death and suffering is known as 'Good' Friday. There are a number of theories as to why the day marking the crucifixion of Jesus is known in this way.  The word 'Good' may be a different spelling or rendering of 'God' or it may have another, now lost, meaning of 'holy'. Another theory is that the tragedy of the crucifixion of Jesus brought great 'good' to his followers.

More recently, the Good Friday Agreement, or Belfast Agreement was a major step in the political process to end the troubles and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. It was signed on Good Friday April 10, 1998 by the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and later endorsed by referendums in Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

About Good Friday in other countries

Read more about Good Friday.

Good Friday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriApr 22010Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 222011Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 62012Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriMar 292013Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 182014Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 32015Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriMar 252016Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 142017Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriMar 302018Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 192019Good FridayPublic holiday 
FriApr 102020Good FridayPublic holiday 

Quick Facts

Good Friday is just before Easter Sunday and is a public holiday in the United Kingdom.

Good Friday 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018


Name in other languages

Good FridayEnglish

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2017 in the United Kingdom

Fun Holidays on April 14, 2017

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