Good Friday, as many know it already, is a holy day for Christians for they believe, Jesus was crucified on this day. Since the crucifixion and resurrection mark a great significance in Christianity, the followers mourn this day with broken hearts.
The Controversy of Name
A lot of people argue about what is so ‘good’ in this day which apparently has a sad connotation, to begin with. Since the word ‘good’ does not convey any sorrow, rather seems to be quite contrary.
Interestingly, there are a few narratives to why this word is adopted.
- Some perceive ‘Good Friday’ is basically an amended word for ‘God Friday’ like ‘Good Bye’ means God Be With You.
- Christians believe the entire idea of Easter is Christ’s victory over sin, devil, and death. Hence a good thing.
- ‘ Gospel’ is the second name of the New Testament in Greek means ‘Good News.’
- Since ‘good’ is also a substitute word for ‘holy’ in Old English, this represents the holiness of the day.
What Happens in Churches on Good Friday?
The Church services timings, deliberately chosen to remember the hours of the crucifixion, are often in the afternoon between noon to 3 pm. It all starts with re-enacting the process of the cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life.
Some churches hold a short ceremony in which Christians kneel before the cross to revive their love to their religion. The process is also known as Veneration of the Cross. In Jerusalem, Christians walk Via Dolorosa following Jesus’s path towards the site of the crucifixion. Individuals choose to carry heavy crosses on their backs to better understand the weight Jesus took on his way.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the Pope leads an annual public prayer at the Colosseum in Rome.
How Does the World Celebrate It?
The United States has not yet approved of Good Friday as a federal holiday, but it is progressively becoming more celebrated than Federal holidays as 20% of employees enjoy a day off nationwide.
Following states observe a state holiday on their own.
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
Germany is the country still endeavoring its best to stay connected to the Christian value system as all kinds of acts that go against the spirit of the day is prohibited on the public level.
Dancing, ‘unsuitable’ movies, entertainment events are not allowed to take place in public. German cinemas only have a good film on this day like Marry Poppins or any having nature closer to the day.
Yummier than it ever can be, the UK starts this day with Pancakes and ends with Hot Cross Bun. The whole day becomes more like a sweet food festival when pastries, sweets and special buns with raisins are made. Though everything is made in the shape of a cross. A ticket-free 90-minute play in London happens with a theme of the crucifixion of Jesus to revive the spirit.
Are schools open on Good Friday?
The states that announce Good Friday as state holiday keep their schools shut on this day. A number of them reopen it after Easter.
Does the post office Remain open on Good Friday?
There are to be no hindrances made in delivering posts as the mail system will remain functional. However, on Memorial Day Post Offices will be closed. Has FedEx modified service for its FedEx Express and Freight service.
Are Banks Open on This Day?
Good Friday isn’t a federal holiday and only on Federal holiday do banks close. But its always wise to check local chapters of your state.
Ending the article where I began with, Easter Friday is called Good Friday only by North American and European Christians as Eastern Christians like to call it Holy Friday, Slavic as Friday of Mourning and Latin as Great Friday. Germans have the long tradition of calling this day as Long Friday.
Easter will be observed on April 12 in 2020 and April 4 in 2021. Good Friday, or whatever you can call it from above-mentioned names, is to take place on April 10 in 2020 and April 2 in 2021. However, The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Easter Sunday a week later.