The holiday known as Good Friday always falls on the Friday before Easter, occurring this year on Friday, April 15. Good Friday, for those unaware, commemorates the death of Jesus on Calvary.
Good Friday is often a day of prayer and devotion. Many faiths participate in the holiday including members of Catholic, Christian, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox religions. Some religions practice the act of fasting and attend church services. The celebration of Good Friday dates to the fourth century.
“Why the holiday is called Good Friday is also unknown, but there are several theories. Some believe that ‘God’s Friday’ evolved to ‘Good Friday,’ while religious devout firmly believe that the day is named ‘good’ as a symbol of Jesus and everything He stood for against evildoers. It is also widely believed that Jesus died on a Friday, but this doesn’t explain the addition of ‘good’ to the holiday,” stated nationaltoday.com. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, giving His life hence saving mankind from sin and providing everlasting life to those who believe in Him. Following the crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected two days later, which is commemorated on Easter Sunday.
A timeline of Good Friday was provided by nationaltoday.com. It stated that in 4 B.C. Jesus was born. In the year 27 A.D,. the transfiguration of Jesus occurred, in which after heading to a high mountain to pray, Jesus’ face shined and His entire body began to glow with a white light. In 29 A.D., John the Baptist performed Jesus’ baptism and then began His own ministry. In 33 A.D., Jesus was hung on the cross between two thieves for six hours before dying.
According to the Huffington Post, “That terrible Friday has been called Good Friday because it led to the Resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death and sin and the celebration of Easter, the very pinnacle of Christian celebrations.”
Many churches hold prayer services during the hours of Christ’s crucifixion in observance of Good Friday. As mentioned previously, some choose to fast. Others may volunteer to help those that are less fortunate.
Nationaltoday.com also stated five Good Friday oddities that are as follows:
• The name “Good Friday” goes back centuries. The earliest known use of the name “Good Friday” goes back to about 1290 in a text called “The South English Legendary.”
• Go fly a kite. In Bermuda, it’s traditional to fly a kite on Good Friday, symbolizing both the cross and Jesus rising to Heaven.
• Darkness. According to Christian tradition, when Jesus was crucified, there was darkness across the land and an earthquake.
• Lucky cross buns. It is tradition to eat hot, sweet cross buns on Good Friday and it supposedly brings good luck.
• Grab the scissors! A widespread superstition is that getting a haircut on Good Friday prevents headaches for the rest of the year.
Good Friday is an important day in the Christian faith. Nationaltoday.com stated the following reasons:
• It’s a holy day. Jesus was forced to carry His cross to Calvary, where He was crucified alongside two criminals. He remained alive on the cross for up to six hours. According to biblical tradition, from noon to 3 p.m. on that day, the sky grew dark.
• People reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice. Christian doctrine teaches that Jesus was born to the virgin Mary. As an adult, He became a preacher, performing miracles, and then was put to death by authorities. This sacrifice allowed for the forgiving or pardoning of Christians’ sins.
• Historical Jesus. Just about every scholar of antiquity believes that Jesus was a historical figure. New Testament expert Bart Ehrman wrote, “(Jesus) certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees.”