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Good Friday


Good Friday: Silhouettes of Three Crosses - © corbis


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Good Friday occurs between March 20th and April 23rd on the Friday before Easter. It is a statutory holiday throughout Canada. In Quebec, the employer has the choice of providing the employee a holiday on either Good Friday or Easter Monday.

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. According to the Gospels, Jesus was put to death on the Friday before Easter Day.

There are few explanations as to why the holiday is known as "Good" Friday since it commemorates a sorrowful time in Christianity. Some scholars believe that "good" is a corruption of the word "God's" while others speculate that "good" was used to denote "holy". In Eastern Orthodox churches, the observance is known as Great Friday.

Since the early church Good Friday has been observed by fasting, penance, and prayer. For many years the day had no association with the death of Jesus but was simply another day of fasting. It has been associated with the crucifixion since the late fourth century.

Many churches now have mourning services from noon until 3:00 p.m. to symbolize Jesus' last hours on the cross. Some congregations also re-enact Jesus' procession to the cross in a ritual known as Stations of the Cross.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Good Friday liturgical service involves three distinct parts:

  1. readings and prayers, including the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of St. John;

  2. the veneration of the cross;

  3. and a general communion service (formerly called the Mass of the Pre-sanctified), using bread and wine consecrated the previous day, Maundy Thursday.

Other forms of observance include prayer and meditation at the Stations of the Cross, a succession of 14 images on wooden crosses depicting Christ's crucifixion and the events leading up to it.






Good Friday: The Death and Burial of Jesus Christ - The Christian Broadcasting Network


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