Meaning of Good Friday….

Good Friday, anniversary of Jesus’ death on the cross. According to the Gospels, Jesus was put to death on the Friday before Easter Day. Since the early church Good Friday has been observed by fasting and penance. In the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions, the celebration of the Eucharist is suspended; liturgical service involves veneration of the cross, the Passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John, and communion using bread and wine consecrated the previous day, Maundy Thursday. Other forms of observance include prayer and meditation at the Stations of the Cross, a succession of 14 images, usually on wooden crosses, depicting Christ’s crucifixion and the events leading up to it.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights
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Good Friday

Friday before Easter, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus. As early as the 2nd century it was kept by Christians as a day of penance and fasting. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have special liturgies for the day, which include readings and prayers commemorating Christ’s sufferings on the cross. Protestant churches also hold special services on Good Friday.

For more information on Good Friday, visit Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994-2008 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

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Good Friday

the Friday before Easter, observed as a commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus

Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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Good Friday
Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

There are several theories as to why the day commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion is called “Good” Friday. Some scholars think it’s a corruption of “God’s Friday,” while others interpret “good” in the sense of “observed as holy,” or to signify that the act of the Crucifixion is central to the Christian view of salvation. It is called Great Friday by Orthodox Christians, but it’s not surprising that the Friday before Easter is sometimes referred to as Black Friday or Sorrowful Friday .
This day has been in the Christian calendar even longer than Easter. And although it was neglected for a long time by Protestant churches, Good Friday has again come into almost universal observance by Christians. From noon to three o’clock many western Christian churches in the U.S. hold the Tre Ore (Italian for “three hours,” referring to the last three hours Jesus hung on the cross), a service based on the last seven things Jesus said on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by reenacting the procession to the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross.
In every Orthodox church, the Epitaphios, a gold-embroidered pall representing the body of Christ, is laid on a special platform, which is smothered in flowers. During the evening service, the platform is carried out of the church in a procession. The faithful follow, carrying lighted candles and chanting hymns. At squares and crossroads, the procession stops for a prayer by the priest.
Long Friday is another name for Good Friday. In Norway, this day is called Langfredag ; in Finland, Pitkäperjantai (or Long Friday) because it was a day of suffering for Christ.
See also Pleureuses, Ceremony of
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
516-922-0550; fax: 516-922-0954
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 237
BkFest-1937, pp. 6, 16, 30, 41, 56, 70, 86, 96, 103, 112, 121, 147, 167, 184, 211, 227, 249, 259, 275, 291, 300, 309, 330, 338
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 107
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 181, 961, 1072
EncyEaster-2002, p. 234
EncyRel-1987, vol. 3, p. 439
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 62
FestWestEur-1958, pp. 8, 93, 107, 152, 212
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 168
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 224
OxYear-1999, p. 618
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 93, 120
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 160

Celebrated in: AndorraAngolaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaAustraliaBahamasBarbadosBelgiumBelizeBermudaBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBrazilCameroonCanadaChileColombiaCyprusDenmarkDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEngland and WalesEquatorial GuineaEstoniaFijiFinlandGambiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGrenadaGuatemalaGuyanaHaitiHonduras,Hong KongIcelandItalyJamaicaKenyaKiribatiLatviaLebanonLesothoLiechtensteinMalawiMaltaMarshall IslandsMexico,NamibiaNauruNetherlandsNew ZealandNicaraguaNigeriaNiueNorthern IrelandNorwayPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeru,PhilippinesPolandPortugalRepublic of GeorgiaRwandaSamoaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSouth AfricaSpainSri LankaSt. Kitts and NevisSt. Vincent and the GrenadinesSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandTanzaniaTimor-LesteTongaTrinidad and TobagoUgandaUruguayVanuatuVenezuelaZambiaZimbabwe

Good Friday (Belgium) (Goede Vrijdag)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

Belgian churches are draped in black on Good Friday, in memory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross, and a general air of sadness prevails in the cities and towns. In rural villages, women often wear mourning on this day. In the afternoon, many attend the three-hour Passion service at the local church.
In Veurne, there is a pilgrims’ procession that stops before each of the 18 Stations of the Cross, built there in 1680, to pray and sing hymns. The distance between the different stations is said to correspond to the number of steps (5,751) taken by Christ as he went from Jerusalem to Mount Calvary. The original Stations of the Cross were sites associated with Christ’s Passion in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Pictures or carvings of the Stations of the Cross can often be seen on the walls of Roman Catholic churches.
Belgian Tourist Office
220 E. 42nd St., Ste. 3402
New York, NY 10017
212-758-8130; fax: 212-355-7675
BkFest-1937, p. 41
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 54
FestWestEur-1958, p. 8

Celebrated in: Belgium

Good Friday (Bermuda)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

The custom of flying kites on Good Friday in Bermuda dates back to the 19th century, when a teacher who was having difficulty explaining to his students how Jesus ascended into heaven took them to the highest hill on the island and launched a kite bearing an image of Jesus. When he ran out of string, he cut the line and let the kite fly out of sight. It has been an island tradition since that time for children to fly kites on Good Friday.
Breakfast on Easter is another Bermudian tradition. It consists of salted cod that has been soaked overnight and then boiled the next day with potatoes. It is served with an olive oil and mayonnaise topping, and sliced bananas on the side.
Bermuda Department of Tourism
675 Third Ave., Fl. 20
New York, NY 10017
800-223-6106 or 212-818-9800; fax: 212-983-5289
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 10
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 226

Celebrated in: Bermuda

Good Friday (England)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

The Friday before Easter has often been regarded as a day of ill omen by those in rural areas. In England, bread baked on Good Friday was marked with a cross to keep the Devil away, and there was a superstition that hanging a “hot cross bun” in the house on this day would protect it from bad luck in the coming year. Sometimes Good Friday buns or cakes remained hanging on a rack or in a wire basket for years afterward, gathering dust and growing black with mold. A piece of Good Friday cake was thought to be especially good for ill cows.
Other Good Friday superstitions include the belief that breaking a piece of crockery on Good Friday would bring good luck because the sharp point would penetrate Judas Iscariot’s body. In rural areas, boys often hunted squirrels on this day, because according to legend, Judas was turned into a squirrel.
BkFest-1937, p. 56
EncyEaster-2002, p. 178
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 63
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 241

Good Friday (Italy)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

Folk processions with realistic images of the dead Jesus displayed on platforms are common in Italian towns and villages on Good Friday. Sometimes the platforms are accompanied by cloaked and hooded worshippers, or by large candles carried aloft on long spiked poles. Funereal music and figures of the grieving Mary and angels holding stained graveclothes accompany the procession. Other objects symbolic of the Passion include the cross, the crown of thorns, and the spear. In the afternoon, there is a church service known as l’agonia.
At Santa Croce and other churches in Florence, a custom known as “Thrashing Judas Iscariot” traditionally has been observed on Good Friday. Young boys bring long willow rods tied with colored ribbons to church and at a certain point in the service, they beat the benches loudly with the branches.
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
BkFest-1937, p. 184
EncyEaster-2002, p. 313
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 64
FestWestEur-1958, p. 93

Celebrated in: Italy

Good Friday (Mexico) (Viernes Santo)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

Good Friday is a very somber day in Mexico. The churches are often darkened and draped in black. The religious processions that take place on this day represent the funeral that Jesus never had. An effigy of the dead Christ, stained with blood and wearing a crown of thorns, is carried in a glass coffin through the streets. The highlight of these processions is when the statue of Mary, also draped in black, meets the effigy of her crucified son.
The funereal atmosphere is maintained throughout the day. Running, shouting, or using profanity is discouraged, in reverence for the Lord. The mood of those attending church services is very much that of friends and neighbors paying a condolence call on the members of a bereaved family.
See also Passion Play at Tzintzuntzan
BkFest-1937, p. 227
EncyEaster-2002, pp. 240, 406
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 235

Celebrated in: Mexico

Good Friday (Poland) (Wielki Piatek)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

People fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes from Good Friday until Easter Sunday in Poland, but housewives often spend Great Friday orHoly Friday kneading and rolling out the dough for elaborate Easter cakes. Egg-decorating is also part of the preparations for Easter, and there are three different techniques for decorating eggs: (1) malowanki are eggs painted in solid colors with natural substances, such as vegetable skins, roots, or grains; (2) pisanki are eggs that are batiked in traditional designs, usually animal or geometrical figures that have been handed down from generation to generation; and (3) skrobanki are eggs dyed in solid colors upon which the outlines of birds, flowers, and animals are scratched with a pointed instrument.
In Krakow and other large cities, going from church to church on Good Friday to view the replicas of Jesus’ body that are on display traditionally is considered to be an important social event.
See also Easter in the Ukraine
BkFest-1937, p. 259
EncyEaster-2002, p. 500

Celebrated in: Poland

Good Friday (Spain)

Between March 20 and April 23; Friday before Easter

The religious processions that take place on Good Friday in Spain are among the most impressive and elaborate in the world. They are made up of huge pasos, or floats, illustrating different scenes in the Passion story and carried by members of various organizations or trade guilds. The pasos are so heavy that it can take 25 or 30 bearers to carry one, and the procession must halt frequently so they can rest.
In Seville, the Good Friday procession dates back to the Middle Ages and includes more than 100 pasos, many of which are elaborate works of art in themselves, with platforms made out of real silver and figures wearing robes embroidered in gold. Among the more outstanding pasos are those portraying the Agony in the Garden, Christ Bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Descent from the Cross. They are carried by black-robed penitents through the streets of Seville, followed by cross-bearers, uniformed civic leaders, and clergy in magnificent robes.
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., 35th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
BkFest-1937, p. 300
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 54
EncyEaster-2002, pp. 240, 565

Celebrated in: Spain

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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