Good Friday

Good Friday Quick Facts - NL

AKA NameHoly and Great Friday, Goede Vrijdag
HashtagsCompiled on#Goodfriday
Related Hashtags#Easter, #Easter2024, #HappyEaster, #EasterWeekend, #Jesus
2024 Date29 March 2024
2025 Date18 April 2025

Good Friday

Good Friday in
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Good Friday History

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The day is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. In many parts of the world, it's a day of fasting and mourning with services, often held in the afternoon; mirroring the time when Christ was said to be on the cross.

The practice of observing Good Friday can be traced back to the fourth century, marking it as one of the oldest Christian traditions. For the Dutch people, this day holds additional historical significance. In the years of World War II, Good Friday marked the beginning of the Amsterdam-Utrecht Waterlinie Operation in 1945. This operation was a significant turning point towards the end of the German occupation in The Netherlands. Today, many Dutch people, regardless of their religious orientation, respect this day for both its historical and religious importance.

In The Netherlands, Good Friday is a public holiday but is not a day off for all workers as it is not a compulsory day off under Dutch law. However, many businesses and schools close on Good Friday. Religious observances include church services where readings and reflections focus on Jesus' Seven Last Words on the cross. The Catholic Church in The Netherlands, for instance, often holds Stations of the Cross liturgies. Good Friday in The Netherlands is observed on the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday, similar to other countries.

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 Amsterdam, Catholics commemorate the alleged Miracle of the Host with a silent procession known as "Stille Omgang". Although this doesn't happen precisely on Good Friday, it takes place in mid-March, during the season of Lent.
  • The three-cross emblem, which is a symbol of Amsterdam (the capital of the Netherlands), is believed to depict the three crosses of Calvary, a significant scene in the crucifixion story remembered on Good Friday.

Top things to do in Netherlands 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 The Keukenhof Gardens: Although not directly related to Good Friday, if you're in the Netherlands, it would be a great time to visit Keukenhof Gardens, known as "the Garden of Europe ", which is one of the world's largest flower gardens. Its opening season usually coincides with Easter week.
  • Read a book to learn more about Good Friday in The Netherlands:
    Calvinism in Europe, 1540-1620 - by Andrew Pettegree, Alastair Duke, Gillian Lewis
    The Calendar in Revolutionary England, 1640-1660 - by David Trevor William Evans

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