Good Friday, along with Easter, one of the predominating celebrations in the Christian religion. It dates back to be one of the oldest celebration to as far back as 100 CE. It also goes by other names including Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday (not to be confused with the one after Thanksgiving), Easter Friday, and Sacred Friday.
No matter what name you choose to go by it is still the same celebration. Good Friday is meant to be the celebration and commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death.
Good Friday is the Friday preceding Easter and that whole week preceding Easter would be referred to as the holy week. In most Western countries Good Friday is considered to be a holiday. Observance lasts all day with a possible service depending on the church.
So why call it Good Friday when it is commemorating and celebrating Jesus’s death? It may be because at one time the word good meant holy, thus Good Friday being Holy Friday. Otherwise, it may be called Good Friday because this is when Jesus suffered and died on the cross for man’s sins. That may not seem good, but if it was not for Good Friday there would be no resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ is one of the most famous and celebrated by Christians on Easter.
Like any celebration or holiday there is a story that goes behind it.
During the Last Supper, Judas betrayed Jesus. Judas was given a bribe of “thirty pieces of silver” and marked Jesus with a kiss. This identified Jesus to the soldier of the High Priest Caiaphas. Jesus was arrested and the next morning he was brought to Annas Annas was a powerful Jewish cleric, but Annas was unable to do anything to condemn Jesus. Instead Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas and the ruling High Priest at the time. Caiaphas predicted Jesus’ death and realized it would bring the followers of God to gather together. Knowing that, Caiaphas planned and plotted to have Jesus killed. Caiaphas was the one who charged Jesus with blasphemy because Jesus claimed himself to be the Son of God. Jesus was then sent to the Roman governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate. Pontius found no reason to condemn Jesus and had Jewish leaders deal with Jesus. The leaders wanted Jesus to be killed, but Pilate said no. Pilate took it to King Herod who also found Jesus not guilty. Jesus was found innocent by Pilate and everyone became upset. In order to keep a riot from happening, Pilate agreed to execute Jesus by crucifixion. Before Jesus was crucified, he was flogged and had a crown of thorns put on his head to ridicule him. After the flogging he was made to carry the cross he would be nailed on to the place of his execution.
Jesus was nailed to the cross between two thieves. Above his head a sign was put declaring his crimes. It said, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” As Jesus was dying darkness covered the land. Three days after his death Jesus was resurrected and this is the reason for Easter.
Many countries remember the death of Jesus in different ways. Traditionally no matter where in it is in the world, Good Friday is meant to be a day of fasting. Dependent on the church there may or may not be a mass on Good Friday. If there is the mass is to retell the story of Jesus and his death on the cross. Other churches may opt to open the doors during the time Jesus was hung on the cross for people to pray during that time. Whichever the church chooses the service or open time would be from noon to around 3 pm because those are the hours Jesus was dying and was hung on the cross.
In other countries they have their own traditions to go along with the typical traditions that can be seen as universal.
In Spain. India, Italy, and the Philippines the people will re-enact what happened to Jesus before he was crucified. Other places like in Bermuda, the people fly homemade kites to symbolize the cross Jesus died on and to show him ascending into Heaven. In Belgium and Mexico it is meant to be a much more solemn and sad day rather than a day of celebration. They drape black cloth in the church to symbolize the suffering Jesus felt on the cross. In Poland they will only eat dry bread and roast potatoes throughout Good Friday. Some churches, nowhere specific, may have the church go bare by removing objects such as flowers and shiny objects.
Bible Verses Related to Good Friday
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were still reconciled to hum though the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we saved through his life!
1 Peter 3:18
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the Spirit.
1 Peter 2:24
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, “by his wounds you have been healed.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
31 because he was teaching his disciple. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”