Good Friday is a UK Public Holiday
On Good Friday, Christians remember the day when Jesus was crucified on a cross.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday (Easter Day).
The date of Good Friday changes every year.
See our main Easter page to find out why.
The date of the first Good Friday will never be known
Did you know?
The Anglo-Saxon name for Good Friday was Long Friday, due to the long fast imposed upon this day.
Good Friday was not celebrated as the day Christ died until the 4th century A.D.
The name may be derived from 'God's Friday' in the same way that good-bye is derived from 'God be with ye'.
It is 'good' because the barrier of sin was broken.
Jesus was arrested and was tried, in a mock trial. He was handed over to the Roman soldiers to be beaten and flogged with whips. A crown of long, sharp thorns was thrust upon his head.
Jesus was forced to carry his own cross outside the city to Skull Hill. He was so weak after the beating that a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was pulled from the crowd and forced to carry Jesus' cross the rest of the way.
Jesus was nailed to the cross. Two other criminals were crucified with him, their crosses were on either side of him. A sign above Jesus read "The King of the Jews."
According to the bible:
The third hour of the day - Jesus was nailed to the cross.
(9:00 am )
The Sixth Hour of the day - darkness covered the land
The ninth hour of the day - the darkness left, and the Lord died
( 3:00 pm).
The hours in the bible are calculated from the first hour of the day, being 6 in the morning.
|Christians believe that
Jesus stood in our place.
His death paid the penalty not for his own wrong doings but for ours.
Since the early nineteenth century, before the introduction of bank holidays, Good Friday and Christmas Day were the only two days of leisure which were almost universally granted to working people. Good Friday today is still a public holiday in much of the UK. This means that many businesses are closed.
Some Christians fast (go without food) on Good Friday. This helps them remember the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the day of crucifixion.
Some Christians take part in a procession of witness, carrying a cross through the streets and then into church.
Special Church Service
Many churches hold a special service. This may be a communion service in the evening or a time of prayer during the day, especially around 3 o'clock as that is about the time of day when Jesus died.
Many Churches hold services lasting three hours. They may celebrate the Stations of the Cross, or take part in Passion plays and dramatic readings.
Churches are not decorated on Good Friday. In some churches, pictures and statues are covered over. It is seen as a time of mourning.
It is traditional to eat warm 'hot cross buns' on Good Friday. Hot Cross Buns with their combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavours have long been an Easter tradition.
Why do we eat Hot Cross Buns ?
The pastry cross on top of the buns symbolises and reminds Christians of the cross that Jesus was killed on.
Hot Cross Buns
The buns were traditionally eaten at breakfast time, hot from the oven. They were once sold by street vendors who sang a little song about them.
"Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns."
Hot Cross Bun Ceremony
At the London Pub, The Widow's Son, a Hot Cross Bun Ceremony takes place each Good Friday. In the early 19th century, a widow who lived on the site was expecting her sailor son back home for Easter, and placed a hot cross bun ready for him on Good Friday. The son never returned, but undaunted the widow left the bun waiting for him and added a new bun each year. Successive landlords have kept the tradition going after the pub was opened.
Other traditional Good Friday food
It is traditional to eat fish on Good Friday instead of meat.
Traditionally Good Friday was the day when everything was cleaned and whitewashed in preparation for Easter Sunday.
|"I am a Christian and will be holding an easter-egg hunt in my garden on Good Friday, for all the children who attend my church. My garden backs onto the New Forest and is great fun for kids."
Old Tradition on Good Friday
From the reign of Edward III to that of Mary Tudor, monarchs used to bless a plateful of gold and silver rings every Good Friday at the Chapel Royal, within St. James's Palace.
By rubbing the rings between their fingers, the royal touch was believed to cure cramp and epilepsy. The custom was abolished during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Click here to visit our Easter Supersitions page