Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, and Black Friday.
Members of many Christian denominations, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Oriental Orthodox and Reformed traditions, observe Good Friday with fasting and church services.
The date of Good Friday varies from one year to the next on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Eastern and Western Christianity disagree over the computation of the date of Easter and therefore of Good Friday. Good Friday is a widely instituted legal holiday around the world, including in most Western countries and 12 U.S. states. Some countries, such as Germany, have laws prohibiting certain acts, such as dancing and horse racing, that are seen as profaning the solemn nature of the day.
Good Friday is a very important day for all Christians. On Good Friday, Christians remember that Jesus died for everyone. He was crucified by the Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem although he had not done anything wrong. When a person was crucified, they were tied and nailed by the wrists and feet to a large wooden cross or scaffold and left to die. This is why a cross if often used as a symbol of the Christian faith. You can read more about How and why Jesus was crucified in the Story Section.
The ‘Good’ in Good Friday comes from old English when Good meant Holy. So you could call Good Friday, ‘Holy Friday’.
There are parades all over the world to celebrate and remember Good Friday. In Spain and some other countries, people who are very sorry for their wrong doings (called ‘Penitents’) walk through the streets wearing long robes with hoods and carrying a big cross of wood.
In some countries, including the U.K., sometimes a single person or group of church members carry a large wooden cross, around the streets near the church, before the Good Friday service. They may be also followed by the rest of the people going to church. Sometimes they will stop and have a reading from the Bible or sing a song before going to the service.
In some Central and South American countries, there will be a procession of statues to the church before the service. These are often statues of Jesus, Mary and other saints. In Greece, people go to the church in a procession as if they were going to a funeral. Some Orthodox and Catholic churches have models of tombs as the centre piece of the service to help people remember Jesus died.
In most Anglican churches, there are no flowers or decorations such as alter-cloths in the church on Good Friday.
One of my favorite Good Friday customs is Hot Cross buns! These are yeast dough buns with currants and raisins in them and they have a cross on the top. You can eat them cold. I prefer to cut them in half, toasted with butter and jam on!
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, the day on which Christians annually observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. From the early days of Christianity, Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting, a characteristic that finds expression in the German word Karfreitag (“Sorrowful Friday”).