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Good Friday

From Academic Kids

Good Friday is a holy day celebrated by Christians on the Friday before Easter or Pascha. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. Special prayer services are often held on this day with readings from the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to the crucifixion. Mainstream Christian churches view Christ's crucifixion as a voluntary and vicarious act, and one by which, along with his resurrection on the third day, death itself was conquered.

Dates for Good Friday, 2000-2020
Year Western Eastern
2000 April 21 April 28
2001 April 13
2002 March 29 May 3
2003 April 18 April 25
2004 April 9
2005 March 25 April 29
2006 April 14 April 21
2007 April 6
2008 March 21 April 25
2009 April 10 April 17
2010 April 2
2011 April 22
2012 April 6 April 13
2013 March 29 May 3
2014 April 18
2015 April 3 April 10
2016 March 25 April 29
2017 April 14
2018 March 30 April 6
2019 April 19 April 26
2020 April 10 April 17
Contents

History and observance

In Early Modern English, Good had a meaning of "holy". A "good tide" is, for example, Christmas or Shrove Tuesday.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians treat this day as a fast day. Orthodox Christians spend all this day in fasting from all food, to the extent that their health permits. Catholics also refrain from more than one normal meal, though they may add up to two small meals as required for good health.

This day is also the only day that the Divine Liturgy or Mass is not celebrated in those churches. Catholics, however, can still receive the Eucharist consecrated the previous day at the Holy Thursday Mass.

Instead of the Divine Liturgy, the Orthodox meet up to three times during the day for prayer: in the forenoon, to pray the Royal Hours appointed for that day; in the afternoon, the Vespers of Holy Friday; and in the evening, the Matins of Holy Saturday.

The congregants relive the events of the day through public reading of the Psalms and Gospels, and singing hymns about Christ's death. Visual imagery and symbolism is also often used: in the morning, a large cross is moved to the front or center of the nave (where the congregation gathers), and a two-dimensional painted body of Christ, or corpus, is placed on it. During the afternoon prayers, it is removed from the cross and taken to the altar in the sanctuary, and an epitaphion is brought down to a low table in the nave representing the tomb; it is often decorated with an abundance of flowers. The epitaphion itself represents the body of Jesus wrapped in a burial shroud, and is a roughly full-size cloth icon of the body of Christ. During the evening prayers, the shroud is part of a procession outside the church, and is then returned to the tomb.

During this time, the hymns do not forget the coming resurrection. Holding both events in tension, the following troparion (type of hymn) is sung during the afternoon prayers while the shroud is being carried to the tomb:

The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said:
Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

Catholic Good Friday services include readings from Scripture, including a reading of the Passion account from the Gospel of John which is often read dramatically, with the priest, one or more readers, and the congregation all taking part. A crucifix is presented, with the people given an opportunity to venerate it. The services also include a long series of formal intercessions known as the Good Friday Prayer.

Many Protestant churches hold special services on this day as well. In the German Lutheran tradition from the 16th to the 20th century, this was the most important holiday. It was the prime day on which to receive Holy Communion, and services were often accentuated by special music such as the St. Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Hot cross buns
Enlarge
Hot cross buns

In many historically Christian countries such as Australia and New Zealand, the day is celebrated with the eating of hot cross buns, the withdrawal of advertising from television and radio, and the closure of most shops for the day. Eastern Orthodox Christians eat as little as possible on this day.

Many Baptist and non-denominational churches do not celebrate Good Friday, instead observing the Crucifixion on Wednesday to coincide with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb (which is an Old Testament pointer to Jesus Christ). A Wednesday Crucifixion of Jesus Christ allows for Christ to be in the tomb (heart of the earth) for three days and three nights as he told the Pharisees he would be (Matthew 12:40), rather than two nights and a day if he died on Friday.

It is not a federal holiday in the United States, although many states observe it as a state holiday.

On the day of the suffering of Christ (which is believed by many to have occurred on a Friday evening in April) there was a coincidence: at that time the constellation of Southern Cross was entirely visible low in the South from Jerusalem. Due to precession this is no longer the case. The most probable date is 3 April AD 33 (http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/newton.html), on which date also took place a partial lunar eclipse (http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEcat/LE0001-0100.html).

Related holy days

Template:Holy Week

See also

  • Good Friday agreement, a major step in the Northern Ireland peace process, was signed on Good Friday in 1998
  • The term 'Good Friday' has been adopted recently by The Karma Army to denote the day of the week they perform Random Acts of Kindness, but has no connection to the Christian celebration.
  • Good Friday experiment, a test conducted on Good Friday, 1962, at Boston University's Marsh Chapel by Walter Pahnke on a number of divinity students, to determine the usefulness of psilocybin for facilitating mystical experience. According to Pahnke, the experiment determined that "the persons who received psilocybin experienced to a greater extent than did the controls the phenomena described by our typology of mysticism."

External links

cs:Velk ptek da:Langfredag de:Karfreitag fi:Pitkperjantai fr:Vendredi saint he:יום שישי הטוב id:Jum'at Agung ka:დიდი პარასკევი nl:Goede Vrijdag no:Langfredag pl:Wielki Piątek

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