Good Friday marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the Friday before Easter Sunday. This day is observed by all the Christians around the world. Good Friday is a solemn day for the Christians and it falls in the holy week starting on Palm Sunday and falls on Friday preceding the Easter Sunday which varies from year to year. Easter falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, the full moon on or after 21 March, taken to be the date of the vernal equinox.
Good Friday History
Friday was observed as a special day for prayer and fasting by the church even in the first century but it was only in fourth century that Friday before Easter was associated with crucifixion of Jesus. The name Good Friday was adopted by the Roman church in the sixth century. Prior to this this day was called as Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church.
There are many theories for the origin of the name good Friday. Some believe that this day was originally called god’s Friday which later came to be called as Good Friday while some believe that the term good refers to the gift brought by martyrdom.
It is believed that Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days and then returned to preach. He preached the need for fasting and prayer to overcome all the evil. After his return to Jerusalem he was whole heartedly welcomed by the people and called the king of Jews. But his increasing popularity worried the rulers and they thought of plotting against him. He was arrested with help of his disciple Judas who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was charged with treason and was sentenced to be crucified. On the day after the Maundy Thursday on which day all this events took place he was made to carry a huge wooden cross. He was nailed to the cross at 9 o'clock in the morning and after an ordeal of six hours he was dead by 3 in the afternoon. And from noon everything became dark. But before his death he prayed to forgive the sinners who were responsible for his death by saying ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’.
How is Good Friday Celebrated?
Good Friday is a day of fasting, prayer and mourning for the Christians. This day marks the end of forty day lent period of fasting and renunciation during which people abstain from meat, alcohol and even sweets. The day is celebrated in a solemn way with priests and deacons dressing in black vestments and the pulpit and the altar are bear with no candles being lit. Special church services are held on this day and mostly church services are held between 12 noon to 3 pm as this period is considered very sacred. And during the church services passages are read from the Gospel which recount the events of the passion, from the Last Supper through the Crucifixion and the burial of Jesus. Even the passages that consist of the seven last words of Jesus are read from the gospel. Religious processions are also held in some places. It is day of sorrow and grief. This day commemorates the suffering of Jesus and honours the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sake of humanity.