Observed mainly by followers of Christianity, Good Friday is a religious holiday that commemorates the crucifixion – and eventual death – of Jesus Christ. It is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday, a date which may or may not coincide with the Jewish Observance of Passover. It is known by several different names, including: Great Friday, Holy Friday and Easter Friday.
It is a day where followers of Christ can reflect on the human sin that lead up to the death of Jesus Christ and repent for it. It is also a time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus to ensure that we can all be absolved of our original sin.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, this day is treated as a fast day – a day in which one only has one full meal and abstains from the consumption of meat. As a result, many churches hold “Fish Fry’s” (or Fish Fridays) where parishioners can congregate and eat their meal. A meal where fried fish is served with any number of different side items including, but not limited to, hush puppies; cole slaw, potato salad and fries.
Roman Catholic liturgical traditions offers no special rites between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If one is in imminent danger of death, then they may be administered the the rite of Baptism. They may also partake in Penance or an Anointing of the Sick.
The Good Friday liturgy, under Roman Catholic tradition, includes a ‘The Liturgy of the Word’, ‘The Veneration of the Cross’ and ‘Holy Communion’.
Traditionally, this holiday is considered one of the most important ones of the Lutheran tradition. During this time, abstention from the works of the world is expected, although this stance has lightened slightly in recent times.
Currently, Good Friday is considered a public holiday in over 20+ countries – especially ones with a strong tradition in the Christian faith. And although it is not a Federal holiday in the United States, there are several U.S states which treat it as a state holiday. Some of these include Hawaii, Kentucky, Texas and New Jersey.