For Christians, Good Friday is one of the most important holidays of the year because it represents Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to wash away our sins. It was the day he was crucified, only to rise again on Sunday, which we call Easter. In the past, the day was referred to by other terms, such as Black Friday, Holy Friday, and Great Friday. It is always celebrated two days before Easter.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. The spiritual leader was arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to Caiaphas the High Priest, who charged him with blasphemy. Jesus was then sent to Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor, who asked the attendees what to do with the prisoner. After he did not deny any of the charges, the crowd demanded Jesus’ execution as well as the release of Barnabas, a notorious criminal.
Judas, filled with guilt, tried to return the silver and then hanged himself that Friday morning. Jesus was taken to the Roman courtyard by the soldiers, where a crown of thorns was set upon his head. He had to carry his own cross to Golgotha, where he was crucified.
After Jesus passed, the skies turned dark for three hours, an earthquake rippled across the land, and the veil in the temple in Jerusalem tore from top to bottom.
Celebrating Good Friday
As part of the Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, Christians commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice in different ways throughout the world. In Bermuda, for example, locals fly kites to represent Christ’s ascension to Heaven. In Jerusalem, Christians walk the exact trail that Jesus did on the day he was crucified.
Palm Sunday, which was April 5 this year, begins the Holy Week. Many Christians have already been participating in Lent, though, which lasts about six weeks. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends three days before Easter Sunday. During Lent, participants can choose to give up a luxury item for the term, such as eating chocolate. Some of the stauncher worshipers will follow the strict fasting diet of no meat, eggs, fish, and fats. On Good Friday, those who have reached puberty are to avoid eating land animal meat (fish is okay) according to Roman Catholic laws. Traditionally, meat is associated with celebrations and feasts, so it is considered a worthy sacrifice for this holy day.
Good Friday is not considered a holiday in every state in the nation, but some businesses do close in observance. Other countries have mandatory closing of certain establishments. In Ireland, bars are closed, and people are not supposed to drink any form of alcohol on this day. In Germany, it is forbidden to go horseback riding or dance, and any businesses or clubs that don’t follow this could be fined.
The faithful often attend services between noon and 3 p.m., the time during which Christ was crucified.