Things you should know about Good Friday

Ukrainian and Russian women carry a cross as they attend the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession during Good Friday celebrations, at Colosseum, in Rome, Italy April 15, 2022. — Reuters

Easter is approaching very fast and the week in which Easter lands is called the Holy Week. There are people who enjoy this day as a holiday around the world, but those who observe it with religious zeal will welcome it with Good Friday.

The Easter festival starts after the Lent season which consists of 40 days. As Lent ends, Good Friday takes places two days before Easter, as reported by USA Today.

Gabriel Radle, assistant professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame while talking about the festival said that “Good Friday is part of something else. It’s its own thing, but it’s also part of something bigger.”

Here are some important things to know about Good Friday.

What is Good Friday?

It is the day on which churches pay tribute and remember the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Gabriel Radle noted: “If Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb, Good Friday is the day in which the church commemorates everything from his condemnation to his passion.”

Why is it called Good Friday?

Radle while explaining further about Good Friday stated that good and death don’t really go together, but the “good” in the death of Jesus Christ is in Christian ideology, his death represents the redemption of humanity, as the celebrations of Easter wouldn’t be possible without what happened on Good Friday.

He also noted: “Christ is offering himself on the cross. It’s an outpouring of God’s love by offering himself on the cross, but it’s also not something that ends at the cross.”

“It’s not just the commemoration of Christ’s passion for the sake of focusing on the agony of it all, but the agony has a purpose. That’s God’s gift of redemption to the world, which finds fulfilment in the resurrection,” Radle remarked with USA Today.

This day holds different names across the world for instance “Great Friday,” “Holy Friday,” “Sorrowful Friday” in Germany or “Sacred Friday.”

How to celebrate Good Friday?

Assistant professor of theology Radle said: “There are all sorts of practices done on Good Friday throughout the world for worshippers to contemplate and commemorate the death of Christ. It should be viewed as an act done by humanity, requiring repentance – worshippers should confess their sins and profess their devotion to God.”

As compared to other religious holidays, mass gatherings do not take place but people read the Gospel, veneration of the cross and Holy Communion take place.

Radle noted in his discussion that “there’s almost a liturgical fast and so far as the things that are taken for granted, like the celebration of the Eucharist.” 

“Annual things like Good Friday tend to conserve a lot of unique traditions that go back really far in history”, he also noted.

Another way of practising it is the Stations of the Cross, in which Christians pray and reflect along 14 “stations” or images showing Jesus Christ’s journey from his condemnation to his eventual death.

Christians also celebrate it by performing “passion plays” in which they act and “recreate events” similar to the days of Christ.

On what day is Good Friday?

Good Friday in 2023 will fall on April 7 (today).

Is eating meat allowed on Good Friday?

There is some disagreement on this matter. Catholics say that they should not eat meat on Good Friday, akin to the other Fridays during Lenten season.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said “Since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us on Good Friday, we refrain from eating flesh meat in his honour on Fridays.”

On this day, while celebrating it religiously, adults are also supposed to fast by eating only one meal. 

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