Good Friday 2024

29 March 2024
All States    Regional holiday

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. On this day 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 meaning the sorrowful Friday.

The liturgical celebration of Good Friday has undergone various changes over the centuries. In the Roman Catholic Church the mass is not celebrated on Good Friday, though a liturgy is performed. Beginning in the Middle Ages, only the officiating priest took Holy Communion, which was consecrated in the Maundy Thursday mass; laypeople have also communed on Good Friday since 1955.

The liturgy of Good Friday comprises of the reading of the Gospel Passion narrative, the adoration of the cross, and Communion. In the 17th century, after an earthquake in Peru, the Three Hour Service, prayerful meditation on Jesus “Seven Last Words on the Cross,” was introduced to the Catholic liturgy by the Jesuits. It takes place between noon and 3 PM. Similar services occur in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, although there no Communion is celebrated on Good Friday.

On Good Friday, Christians do not eat meat and traditional food like hot cross buns is eaten on this day. However, many people eat fish instead of meat. The reason why fish is eaten is that it comes from the sea and hence is believed to be a different kind of flesh than on land. 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. Hence, fish is a pious symbol in Christianity. Preparation for traditional meals on Good Friday start a week before. The dough for the hot cross buns is kneaded and braided.