What is Good Friday? When is Good Friday in 2017?
Good Friday is a Christian holiday that celebrates Jesus Christ crucifixion also celebrates the death at Calvary. Good Friday is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday. Sometimes Jewish festival Passover also falls on the same date. Good Friday is part of the Paschal Triduum and celebrated during the holy week. Good Friday has several other names for it like Black Friday, Easter Friday, Great Friday and Holy Friday. However, Easter Friday commonly indicates Friday in Easter Week.
The festival is a legal holiday in many countries mainly western countries especially the ones who are Anglican and Catholic. It is a legal holiday in twelve U.S. states. Activities such as dancing and horse racing are prohibited as nonreligious acts in countries like Germany.
When is Good Friday in 2017?
Good Friday 2017 countdown has been started. People across the globe are excited about the date. Here are the days left to celebrate Good Friday 2017 in USA:
The term Good Friday is battled by many as to claiming the source of it. Many believe the word good to mean a holy day however some claim it to be the corruption of God Friday. Most popular dictionaries describe the Good as holy for the church. It also provides examples such as Good Wednesday or Good tide which means Christmas.
The German-speaking countries denote the day of mourning Friday. Good Friday in those countries is know by the following names Karfreitag which means Mourning Friday and Stiller Freitag which means Silent Friday. Some also refer it as Hoher Freitag which means Holy Friday or High Friday.
Eastern Orthodox Christians call the day Great and Holy Friday. Some may also refer it as just Great Friday. The day commemorates Jesus’s sacrifice through his Crucifixion. On Great Friday sacrifice of bread and wine is not celebrated which is known as the Divine Liturgy.
It is only celebrated if the day comes on the same day as the Great Feast of Annunciation. Great Feast of Annunciation falls on 25th March according to Julian Calendar which relates to 7th April of the Gregorian Calendar.
On Great Lent, it is customary for clergy to wear purple or red, however, on Great Friday the clergy no longer wear red or purple but wear black vestments. In the Easter Orthodox, the church hangings are changed to black and are remain till the Divine Liturgy which is on Great Saturday.
Holy and Good Friday is officially known as The Order of Holy and Saving Passion of Lord Jesus Christ. The divine time beings on Thursday night with Matins of Twelve Passion Gospels. The twelve readings which narrate the events of the Passion from Last Supper till the burial of Jesus. Many churches have different practices for which a common service has twelve candles on a candelabrum, and after each gospel reading, one candle is extinguished. The longest reading of the liturgical year is the first of the twelve gospels. Before the sixth gospel reading, a large cross is brought out to the sanctuary by the priest with inches and candles. This is to relate to Jesus nailed to the cross.
Royal Hours of Good Friday
The Royal Hours is on the next day in the forenoon on Friday where all gather to pray. Sculpture readings and spiritual songs about the crucifixion at each of hours take place with prayers. The reason it is called Royal is that of the Hours is served with more solemnity than regular hours. It is to celebrate Christ the King who humbled himself to save humanity. It is also known as Royal as Emperors, and his court attended this service.
Vespers of Holy and Great Friday
All gather in the afternoon at around 3 pm for Vespers of the Taking-Down from the Cross to pay tribute to the Deposition from the Cross. The body of Christ is parted from the cross during the service as the Gospel reading states Joseph of Arimathea wrapped in a linen shroud and taken to the altar in the sanctuary.
During the end of service, the winding sheet is carried in procession in the nave to a little table which is known Tomb of Christ. Lots of flowers are put around it. The priest will say holy speech, and everyone come forward to worship the epitaphs.
Good Friday in Roman Catholic
Good Friday in the Catholic Church is a fast day. The Latin Church take it as to have only one full meal and two light meals. On the day all take faithful abstain from eating meat. Hence ‘Fish Friday’ is popular in some places. Countries where Good Friday is not an official holiday the afternoon worship is usually delayed few hours from the recommended time at 3 pm.
There is no celebration of Mass between Holy Thursday evening and Easter unless a special exemption is granted the Vatican in the Roma Rite. The only religious ceremony that takes place is Baptism for people who are in danger to die, Anointing of the Sick and Penance. Eucharist has no celebration however distributed to the faithful only who are in service of the Passion of the Lord.
It can also be taken to people are unwell at any hour which may not attend the service. The altar clothes cross, and candlesticks are removed from the altar to be completely bare. However, as part of the ceremony, these things are gradually added. Till Easter Vigil, no bells are rung on the church.
In the afternoon around three o’clock, the celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place. This may be done at a later hour due to pastoral reasons. Commonly vestments used are red but traditionally black is used.
Station of the Cross is prayed in church or outside and at 3:30 pm a prayer is held which is known as the Three Hours’Agony. In some countries, processions are conducted with statues of showing Passion of Christ. As an act of reparation for sufferings of Jesus during Passion on Good Friday, special prayers have been detained in the Roman Catholic tradition. During these ritual petitions for living or dead is not involved. The primary goal is to repair the sins against Jesus. The Raccolta Catholic prayer book has such prayers.
Good Friday Celebration in the United States
Good Friday is not a feral holiday however some states or counties observe it as a holiday. Below are places which have Good Friday as an official holiday.
In the above places courts, banks, postal office, and government offices are closed. On Good Friday stock markets are closed. However, foreign exchange and bond trading are open. All retail stores are open, but some do close early. Most universities and schools are closed for spring break or holiday for Good Friday. Federal Banks or banks controlled by banks do not close on Good Friday.
Good Friday Images
Good Friday Images bring the religious feel on the day. Most common images include of Jesus Christ, cross and other religious symbols. The festival is a Holy Friday when Jesus died on the cross. Wallpapers with Jesus on Cross are also widely used to signify the role of Jesus’ sacrifice. Most Good Friday wallpapers or images have prayers or religious thoughts on them.
The idea of using a Good Friday images is to get the sense of this religious festival. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for all. It is the day when we pray to ask for his blessings and forgiveness for all wrong that we may have done.
Praise the lord.