Good Friday 2022: Date, history, significance of Christians' Easter Friday
Good Friday 2022: Know all about what is ‘good’ in Good Friday when it is a day of mourning for Christians, its date this year along with its history, significance and everything else you need to know about observing Black Friday, Great Friday, Easter Friday or Holy Friday
Good Friday is a significant day for the Christian community and is also known as Great Friday, Holy Friday, Easter Friday or Black Friday, since it commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Now the question arises - if the day has such a sad history, why is it known as Good Friday? The etymology of the term ‘good’ in Good Friday is contested in various circles.
Some say ‘good’ means pious or holy as Christians believe that the death of Jesus signifies forgiveness for all of the sins of mankind with Jesus sacrificing himself for the good of humankind and that is why the day is also known as Holy Friday as it denotes that Christ suffered and died for his people. Others say that it is a modification of ‘God Friday’ and that the term actually came from the words God's Friday.
Good Friday is observed as a public holiday in various countries such as India, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Finland, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden among others.
Good Friday falls on the sixth day of Holy weeks which lead to Easter. It is said that the aforementioned crucifixion took place around AD 30 or AD 33. According to the Church's Lunar calendar, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after Paschal Full Moon which is on April 17th this year while Good Friday will be observed on April 15.
The term Good Friday is not present in the Holy Bible, however, the religious text tells us the story of how Jesus was betrayed by Judas which led to his arrest. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers after being nailed to a cross which he was asked to carry to his site of the crucifixion. The term ‘Good’ is a contradiction to the events of this day, however, people believe that the term is associated with the words ‘pious or holy’ and Good Friday is followed by Easter Sunday, the day on which Jesus was resurrected from death.
It is on Good Friday that the Christians commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion. It is a day of grief, penance and fasting for Christians all over the world. The day is also known as Black Friday for the same reason. Good Friday aka Holy Friday also marks the end of Lent which is a 40-day fasting period for Christians.
Good Friday is considered holy because on this day, out of his love for everyone, Jesus Christ gave his life as a sacrifice while suffering for the sins of people. It was because of this gesture that humanity got a fresh start and all their sins were dismissed.
Though Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday, it was on Easter that the son of God resurrected, according to Bible. It signifies that good always wins and the fact that he went through so much suffering for the sins of humanity shows how much he loved everyone.
How Christians observe Good Friday:
Good Friday is a day of mourning, and people keep fasts and pray to the Lord. It is a day to remind oneself of Jesus Christ’s sacrifices. Church services take place from noon to 3 pm on this day and decorations from statues are removed. Priests are dressed in black robes. For Christians, it is the most sorrowful, sombre and sacred day of the year.
On Good Friday, Christians do not eat meat and traditionally the food which is eaten is hot cross buns. However, many people do eat fish instead of meat. The reason why fish is eaten is because it comes from the sea hence, is believed to be a different kind of flesh. Fish shapes were also believed to be secret symbols by which Christians would identify each other at a time when their religion had been banned. A lot of those who followed Jesus Christ were also fishermen.
Preparation for meals on Good Friday would normally start a week before, with the dough for the bread being kneaded and braided. Churches observe the day with a service that normally takes place in the evening, where they remember Christ’s death with hymns, thanksgiving prayers, talk about the special significance that the day holds and observe the Lord’s Supper.
Catholics do not eat meat on Good Friday but can eat fish instead and it is also customary to eat warm hot cross buns. They normally fast on this day unless they have health issues or are below the prescribed age. Protestants, on the other hand, do not have food restrictions on Good Friday but many follow the ‘no meat’ rule like the Catholics.
On Sunday after this, comes Easter, when the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated. Christians also observe Lent - a period of 40 days, except Sundays - that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. In India, some areas hold three-hour long special services in noon – the time when Jesus is said to have been crucified. The lights are dimmed and eventually extinguished. Followers wear black clothes and cover all religious pictures, crosses and icons in the churches and their homes to mourn the absence of God and the associated sadness.
A loud noise is created to depict the earthquake that struck during Jesus’ dying hour. Passages from the Gospel about the Seven Last Words of Jesus are read. Catholics relive the fourteen stations —places in and around the church that mark Jesus’ final journey. The Holy Communion is organised at several places. A bitter drink is prepared from mostly leaves and vinegar, which is tasted by all after the service. In other areas, parades are held in which hymns are sung and prayers offered. Open air plays, depicting the last hours of Jesus Christ, are also organised by some communities.