Good Friday

Good Friday Quick Facts - CA

AKA NameHoly and Great Friday
HashtagsCompiled on#GoodFriday
Related Hashtags#Easter, #Yyc, #Yeg, #HappyEaster, #Easter2024, #EasterWeekend
2024 DateMarch 29, 2024
2025 DateApril 18, 2025

Good Friday

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Good Friday History

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Recognized for its solemnity, the day marks the climax of Holy Week and initiating the Easter Triduum that concludes on Easter Sunday. Many Christians reflect on the sufferings and sacrifices of Jesus, with the central theme being his passion, crucifixion, and death.

The observance has its roots placed deeply into Christian tradition, drawing from biblical accounts of Christ's death and resurrection. In Canada, a country notable for its religious diversity, Good Friday holds particular significance. It was instituted as a day of solemn prayer and fasting by the first Christians, a tradition that the varied Christian communities in Canada observe till date. It is a statutory holiday in all provinces and territories, designed as a day of reflection and reverence.

In Canada, many Christians attend church services where biblical accounts of Christ's crucifixion are read and sometimes reenacted. Others may take part in the Stations of the Cross, a series of images commemorating Jesus on the day of his execution. Notably, on Good Friday, many businesses, schools and government offices across Canada are closed, and some restrict the sale of alcohol in observation of the solemn nature of the day. The date of Good Friday varies each year, falling between March 20th and April 23rd, depending on the date of Easter Sunday which is determined by the lunar calendar.

Facts about Good Friday

  • In the Orthodox tradition, the day is called Holy and Great Friday. In typical Orthodox services, a cross is removed from the church sanctuary and the congregation observes a service that focuses on Christ's burial in the tomb.
  • A service called Tenebrae is often held on Good Friday. It focuses on reading the scriptures that describe Jesus' arrest, trial, beating, and crucifixion. In the Roman Catholic Church, Tenebrae may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. Another variation, called Tre Ore, or three hours, is a service that runs typically from noon to 3 p.m., believed to be the time of Jesus' death. It focuses on the last seven phrases that Christ said before his death based on several different gospels. Each phrase is accompanied by a scripture reading, a hymn, and sometimes a short sermon.
  • The Way, or Stations, of the Cross is another way that Christians observe Good Friday. It is primarily a Roman Catholic tradition, but some Protestant churches practice it as well. Depictions of the last 12 acts of Jesus' life are placed in the church or are sometimes permanently stationed outside on the church grounds. Worshipers walk from one station to the next in prayer and contemplation.
  • In some communities in Canada, particularly in Quebec, there are traditional Good Friday meals such as a tourtiere, a meat pie that has been adapted to instead include fish for the holiday.
  • In the city of Toronto, the annual Good Friday procession in Little Italy, organized by the St. Francis of Assisi church has been a long-held tradition, drawing tens of thousands of spectators and participants to reenact and remember Christ's passion and crucifixion.

Top things to do in Canada for Good Friday

  • One tradition on Good Friday is to make and eat hot cross buns. The bread, which is slightly sweet, has a cross on the top that represents the crucifixion. It is thought to be an English tradition that dates back 500 years.
  • Visit Butchart Gardens: The Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, is a fantastic place to witness the arrival of spring on Good Friday. The stunning flower arrangements and calming atmosphere are a real treat.
  • Read a book to learn more about Good Friday in Canada:
    The Canadians: Biographies of a Nation - Volume III - by Patrick Watson & Benjamin Holleman: It provides cultural and religious insights about Canada and can provide context on how religious observances like Good Friday are woven into the fabric of Canadian life.

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