Good Friday

Good Friday | Definition, History, & Facts

Good Friday, also known as Great Friday or Holy Friday, is a popular Christian holiday, which is celebrated as a tribute of Lord Jesus. According to the biblical gospels, on this day, Lord Jesus sacrificed himself to purge the humans from all of their sins. Members of most autonomous Christian fraternities, such as Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Eastern, and Oriental Orthodox, observe this day as one of the holiest occasions of the year. Due to this reason, on a Good Friday, most churches offer various services, such as free foods, to serve humans.

The date of this holy day generally varies from the previous year to the next year on both Julian and Gregorian calendars. However, in most western countries, including England, France, and Spain, Good Friday is instituted as a legal holiday. Some countries, like Germany, also prohibit certain acts, such as dancing and horse racing, on this day.

Why Is It Known as Good Friday?

As the name of the occasion suggests, the day was not good at all. This day, the savior of humankind got betrayed and crucified mercilessly. The term was formed many years ago and is believed to be a disputed version of a different term. According to some, the name of the occasion derived from the term God’s Friday while a few others consider the German expression Gute Freitag to be responsible for it.

However, in medieval history, most people used to use the word ‘holy’ in the place of ‘good’. Due to this reason, most historians believe that the term Good Friday from Holy Friday same as Holy Saturday and Holy Thursday.

Good Friday: Brief Details on Its History and Background

As mentioned before, Good Friday is celebrated in the remembrance and honor of the crucifixion ceremony of Lord Jesus. It is held after the day of Last Supper, which is also known as Maundy Thursday, and before Easter Sunday. On the first Good Friday, a long chain of events had happed. On the previous night, due to the betrayal of Judas, Jesus was arrested and taken before Caiaphas and Annas, the high priests of the city. After that, on Friday morning, he was taken before the Pilate of the town and was beaten and mocked by the people. After that, the followers of the church placed a thorn crown on to his head and condemned him to death.

After that, he had to go all the way to the place of his death by walking while carrying a heavy cross. Then, the people mounted him to the cross and crucified his hands and legs with nails. In his dying moments, he asked for some water and a weeping woman came to help him. He, then, told her everything that is going to happen in the next few days. During his last few moments, he said his famous seven words and asked for mercy to God for those who crucified him.

On this day, various tragic natural issues, such as earthquake, occurred on Earth. Besides that, a wide veil of darkness also covered the land, where Jesus died, completely. A nearby temple also got destroyed too. Moreover, many saints from the era of the Old Testament also raised from their grave that day.

How Does Everyone Celebrate Good Friday?

Good Friday is globally considered to be the day of self-reflection for the Christians. On this day, most Catholics focus on the sacrifice that Jesus made to save their souls. Many Christians also go to the church that day to pray and mourn for the death of their savior. A few staunch Catholics also celebrate this day by fasting.

Moreover, various church services are also held during these days. However, most churches organize these programs between noon and 3:00 PM to remember the hours of Jesus’ crucifixion. Various countries, such as Italy, India, Spain, etc, hold parades in the remembrance of Jesus Christ. In many churches, the fathers toll the church bells for 33 times on the midday to show their affinity to the God and his beloved child.

People in some African nations, like Bermuda, fly kites on Good Friday. This action symbolizes Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Furthermore, the fathers of the churches of Mexico and Belgium wear black dresses to remember it as one of the darkest days in the history of Christianity. The Christians in Jerusalem walk on the footprints of Jesus and go to the same place when the crucifixion had taken place.

However, the sacraments, such as baptism, marriage, Eucharist, confirmation, penance, etc, are not celebrated on this day. This is because most churches consider this as a dark day for Christianity.

What Kind of Celebrations Occur on Good Friday?

There are various types of celebrations occur during this day. Here are some of them.

  • The adoration procedure of the cross of the church
  • A ritualistic process for the remembrance of Jesus Christ
  • Various church services

In the adoration or the veneration process of the cross, first, the members of a church start singing a holy song in the remembrance of Jesus Christ. Once it is done, then a father would present the cross in front of everyone else in the church for individual adoration. This process, also known as personal adoration, is known to be the most important part of this ritual. This whole process is known as the Veneration or Adoration Ceremony of the Holy Cross.

Are Other Devotional Ceremonies appropriate on This Day?

Along with the different kinds of celebrations, various devotional ceremonies, too, take place during this day. Among them, Way of the Cross is known to be the most significant one. Besides this, Processions of the Passion is yet another popular ceremony that can be celebrated on a Good Friday.

However, before a person gets indulged in these devotional ceremonies, then they need to do it at a certain time of the day. Most people generally do these kinds of activities during midday or noon. However, they should also make sure to stop these devotional ceremonies well before the evening.

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