Good Friday

Good Friday Quick Facts - NG

AKA NameHoly and Great Friday
HashtagsCompiled on#GoodFriday, #GoodFriday2024
Related Hashtags#Easter, #HappyEaster, #NLPIbadan
2024 Date29 March 2024
2025 Date18 April 2025

Good Friday

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Good Friday History

Good Friday serves as a reminder of the sacrifices and suffering that Jesus endured, marking the act of ultimate love and redemption towards humanity. Religious services, including a series of readings and meditations on the seven last words of Jesus from the Cross, processions and re-enactments of the Passion of Christ, are hallmarks of Good Friday Observance.

The Nigerian Christian community, predominantly Catholics, Anglicans, and various Protestant denominations, mirrors the global observance of Good Friday. However, the day also has an indigenous imprint on its history. Oral tradition often recounts the spread of this holy day in Nigeria via early Catholic missions in the 19th century, then later by other Christian denominations. Good Friday is a day marked by Nigerians as a solemn reflection in close relation to the global understanding, imbued with indigenous forms of worship and spirituality.

In Nigeria, Good Friday observances take on various forms depending on local traditions and denominations. Many Nigerians mark the day with special church services that include dramatization of Jesus' crucifixion. This often includes procession walks in the early hours of the morning, reminiscent of the path that Jesus took on his way to the cross. Elaborate theatrical performances depict the Passion of Christ, imbuing a sense of local reality to the events. Good Friday typically occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday. However, the dates may vary in the Gregorian calendar, falling either in March or April.

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 the predominantly Christian south-eastern region of Nigeria, especially in Igboland, there is a tradition of refraining from making noise on Good Friday. The quietness represents mourning for the death of Jesus Christ.
  • One unique Nigerian tradition on Good Friday is the theatrical performance known as the "Passion Play". This dramatic play reenacts the betrayal, trial, and death of Jesus.

Top things to do in Nigeria 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.
  • Attend Church Services: Good Friday is a significant day in Christianity, and many Nigerians attend church services. Various denominations have different types of services, including Catholic masses, Protestant services, and Pentecostal gatherings.
  • Read a book to learn more about Good Friday in Nigeria:
    God's People, God's Land, God's Time: A Nigerian Christian Perspective - By George Osuide Amajor
    Nigeria: Beyond the Rituals of Good Friday and Easter - By Charles Okonji

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