Good Friday is observed by Christians all across the world to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at the Calvary. Other names of Good Friday is the Holy Friday, Black Friday, Great Friday or Easter Friday. Though the death of Jesus is associated with this day, yet it is called ‘Good’ because it is a day to honour Jesus Christ who sacrificed his life for his people. No celebration is associated with Good Friday, so on this day people just offer prayers and read sermons in churches, and some offer prayers at their homes. Statues at churches are usually covered with a black cloth to signify mourning. Some people also go to church wearing black clothes.
Catholic Christians above 18 years and under the age of 60 years observe fast during this day. They can have one complete meal and two small meals with nothing in between the whole day. Catholic above 14 years of age cannot eat meat or meat products on this day. Good Friday is a religious holiday in areas concentrated with Christians, but in some regions, it is a restricted holiday. It falls in the Holy Week on the Friday before Easter Sunday.
Earlier, churches used to observe every Friday as a particular day, but later churches started observing Friday preceding Easter Sunday as Good Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion. The name knew the day of Holy or Great Friday, but later on in sixth or seventh century Roman Churches had started calling it by the name of Good Friday, so the day got its name.
Also, there are two more origins of Good Friday. One of this may have been originated from the Gallican Church in Gaul which is present-day France and Germany. Earlier name given was ‘Gute Freitag’ in German which means ‘Good or Holy Friday’. As per the second concept, the name might have originated from God’s Friday in which God, later on, has been replaced by Good.
Good Friday and Jesus Christ
Church rituals generally start at midnight and 3 a.m. with specific prayers. To begin with, lessons from the scriptures are recited by the priest. Most common prayers offered are – The Litany of Humility, Prayer Before a Crucifix and Divine Mercy Novena. Then the prayers are offered in which the priest asks for God’s kindness and appeals to forgive humanity. This follows adoration of the Cross at noon. In this ceremony, representation of the True Cross is unveiled. Mass of the Pre-sanctified comes the next. Around 3 p.m. is the time of ceremony conclusion with a procession and then evening prayers are offered.
In most of the Protestant Churches, the ceremony begins at noon till 3 p.m, as this is the time when Jesus was crucified on the Cross.
What Jesus had spoken while on the Cross, are his last seven phrases and in the Protestant Church sermons on these phrases are given. Hymns are sung, and processions of the Stations of the Cross are also carried out.
In Britain, Hot cross buns are the traditional food to be eaten on this day.
Irrespective of all rituals and ceremonies, Good Friday, is a day to remember the sacrifice of God for humanity. It should always be remembered, and we should follow the right path in life to honour this.