The most important events in Christianity are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, and whose life and teachings are the foundation of Christianity.
Good Friday is a day of celebration. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith.
In some countries, there are special Good Friday processions, or re-enactments of the Crucifixion.
When is Good Friday?
|Year||Date||Day||Week of Month||Holiday|
|2019||19-April||Friday||3rd||Good Friday 2019|
|2020||10-April||Friday||2nd||Good Friday 2020|
Many countries including South Africa observe Good Friday as a public or national holiday on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Some countries observe the Orthodox calendar in which Good Friday may occur on a different date.
The date of Good Friday varies from one year to the next on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Eastern and Western Christianity disagree over the computation of the date of Easter and therefore of Good Friday. Good Friday is a widely instituted legal holiday in South Africa and around the world, including in most Western countries.
Why is it called ‘Good Friday’?
At first glance, it seems a strange name for a day that marks such a terrible event as a crucifixion, but when we look at the origin of the name it becomes clearer… or it would if there was one origin that people could agree on. As it stands, you can take your pick from the following:
- Some say it comes from the use of “Good” as an adjective applied to the day, which is an Old English synonym for “holy.”
- Others believe it stems from a corruption of the word “God,” in much the same way that “Good Bye” comes from the phrase “God be with ye.” So the name may be derived from ‘God’s Friday’.
- Undoubtedly most Christians perceive the day as “good” because the message of Easter is of Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil. Indeed, the New Testament is also known as the Gospel, which is Greek for ‘Good News’.
Also, it is worth noting that this confusion over the name is confined to mostly Western European and North American Christians. Eastern Orthodox Christians call it “Great and Holy Friday”. Around the rest of the world, it’s known as Holy Friday in most Latin nations, ‘Great Friday’ by the Slavic peoples, “Friday of Mourning” in Germany and “Long Friday” in Norway.
In Bermuda, it is traditional to fly kites on Good Friday. These are often handmade affairs with wooden sticks, tissue paper, glue, and string. The use of wood and the shape of the kite is intended to represent the cross, and the kite flying in the sky symbolizes his ascension to heaven.