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Description

Good Friday is a solemn day commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. It takes place the day after Maundy Thursday and two days before Easter Sunday. It is believed to have been observed since around 100 CE.

There are a few theories as to why this Friday is called "Good." Some think the name comes from "God's Friday". Others think the "Good" stands for "holy." Still, others think the "Good" is referring to the belief that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for humankind's sins.

Prayer and fasting may be important parts of the day. Fasting was particularly important for the day early on in its observation. Many Catholics still fast, or partially fast by not eating any meat. Church services are often held in the afternoon, from around noon to 3 pm, as this is the time when Jesus is believed to have hung on the cross before dying. Many churches reenact the procession of the cross to Calvary, where Jesus was crucified; other Stations of the Cross are also reenacted. Candles are often extinguished in churches, and some churches drape black over paintings, statues, and crucifixes—the days' most important symbol—to show mourning. This is also done in some homes. Some also keep their homes somewhat quiet on the day, with little music, television, or computer use.

It is a public holiday in some countries, but not in the United States, although in some states it is a state holiday. Some employees get the day off. Financial markets and many public schools and universities are also closed for the day.

Good Friday is observed next on Friday, April 10th, 2020. It has always been observed 2 days before Easter.

How to Observe

Good Friday may be observed by fasting or attending a church service. Although it is a time of quiet and solitude for many, one piece of music that could be listened to is Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Hot cross buns could be prepared, as they are traditionally eaten on the day. You could also decorate some Easter eggs.

Occurrence Patterns

ObservedFirst YearLast Year
2 days before Easter--

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