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Good Friday is a Christian holiday celebrating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary, a site immediately outside Jerusalem’s walls. It is known as Great Friday, Holy Friday and Black Friday.
From the early days of Christianity, Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow and fasting. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death. Some sources say that the Good Friday is one of the oldest Christian holidays, observed since 100 CE.
The date of Good Friday varies each year on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Orthodox Christians often call this day as Great Friday or Great and Holy Friday as well.
Eastern and Western Churches disagree over the computation of the date of Easter and because of that, all moveable holidays, computed from Easter are different for both Churches.
In early Christianity, the question of whether and when to observe Jesus’ death and Resurrection triggered a mayor controversies. Until the 4th century, his death and Resurrection were observed in one single commemoration on the evening before Easter.
There are many theories and why the day, which remembers Jesus’ death is known as Good Friday. Some sources suggest that the day is “good” in that it’s holy, while other sources thought that the name stems from the words “God’s Friday”.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the term’s origins are not clear. It says some sources see its origins in the term “God’s Friday” or Gottes Freitag, while others maintain that it is from the German Guten Freitag.
Good Friday customs in Europe
- In same areas of France, Catholics follow the Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross). The path is set inside of Churches or on the slope of a hill. It consists of 14 stages, referring to a series of images depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ.
- In Spain, the celebrations take place throughout the country during the Holy Week. It includes amazing performances, parades, and celebrations.
- In Germany, a tradition in some churches and areas that the church bells are not played on Good Friday. Instead, musical rattles are used to announce the start of the services. Religious plays and processions are held in the open air in areas with main Catholic population.
- In some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, it is tradition to eat fish and drink red wine. Children during the holiday use to paint eggs and grandmothers bake sweet bread for Easter holidays.