Good Friday - Holy Friday
Good Friday will be celebrated on 2 April 2021
About Good Friday
Also called Holy Friday, Great Friday and Black Friday, Good Friday is a solemn day celebrated by Catholics and Christians the world over, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Good Friday falls on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday and is marked by mourning and all rituals centre on the feeling of extreme anguish and sorrow that Jesus suffered for all our sins.
The underlying message that comes through this one of a kind sacrifice by the Son of God is that only through love, goodness and non-violence can the evils, like hatred and violence, be overcome.
A variety of rituals are followed on this day.
Good Friday History & Origin
Before Jesus began preaching, he fasted for 40 days in the desert. He then taught the need for prayer and fasting to overcome the Evil one. Following this, Jesus returned to Jerusalem as King of the Jews.
The rulers of the time fearing loss of loyalty of the people then plotted to kill him.
Judas betrayed Jesus and he was arrested for treason and condemned to die on the cross. This happened a day before Good Friday. He was tortured, made to carry the cross, and then crucified on it. Even while he died, Jesus forgave and prayed for those who had put him to death. This, in essence, was a victory of good over evil.
Good Friday is so called probably because it led to the resurrection of Jesus and the victory over death.
Good Friday marks the end of the 40 day period of fasting and renunciation during Lent.
Significance Of Good Friday
Good Friday is a day of mourning and is observed by fasting and penance remembering the great sacrifice by Jesus Christ on the cross.
This day signifies the victory of good over evil and remembers Lord Jesus who sacrificed his life to atone for our sins.
The entire rituals and traditions are sombre and solemn underlining the grief of the community over this huge sacrifice.
Good Friday Traditions
Essentially, Good Friday is devoted to fasting and prayer. No mass is celebrated on this day. Instead, a special ritual in which the Account of Passion, according to the Gospel of John is read, a series of prayers for special intentions are offered and the faithful respect the Cross by kissing it.
A plank of wood denoting the Cross on which Jesus was crucified is displayed in churches for veneration with people coming by one by one and kissing it.
Following this is the service for 3 hours noon onwards. Narratives from the four Gospels are read.
It is believed that Jesus died on the cross at 3 in the afternoon. Therefore the traditional service lasts for 3 hours from noon.
Church bells are not rung on this day while in some churches, mourners wear black and enact the Passion of Christ. Many churches cover the cross and altar in black and do not light candles, while in some, the candles are lit but are extinguished one by one till the last one is put out at the moment Jesus died. At some other places, the pulpit and altar are left bare.
In some churches, mourners in black walk in a procession and offer a ceremonial burial to an image of Jesus.
Prayers, meditation, and sermons form part of the ceremony. The general communion service is held at midnight.
Catholic churches follow the tradition of the Stations of the Cross. One of the traditions of the Roman Catholic church is fasting with just one meal being taken in a day.
Rituals, like reading passages from the Gospel, about the Seven last words of Jesus, is followed by meditation and hymn singing.
Another ritual, Three Hours of Agony is held, followed by meditation and reading from the Gospel, the narrative of the Passion.
The Good Friday ritual concludes with the distribution of the Holy Communion.
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