Good Friday

Good Friday Quick Facts - GB

AKA NameHoly and Great Friday
HashtagsCompiled on#GoodFriday, #GoodFridayAgreement
Related Hashtags#Easter, #Easter2024, #EasterWeekend, #HappyEaster, #HolyWeek, #Shoplocal
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. This observance is a vital part of the Holy Week, the final week of Lent, marking the end of a season of penance and fasting. Recognised worldwide, it is a solemn day of mourning and a time of reflection upon the sacrifice and suffering that Jesus endured.

In the United Kingdom, Good Friday has been observed since the earliest days of Christianity. Historically, it was a day of fasting and solemnity, where practices like the 'Creeping to the Cross' and the 'Three Hours Devotions' emerged. These practices underline the respect and reverence people showed towards the crucifixion. Over time, Good Friday has assumed critical legal status in Britain; it is one of the few days recognised by law as a day off work, reinforcing its significance within UK society.

Currently in the UK, some people may attend special church services or participate in the 'Stations of the Cross', a mini-pilgrimage reflecting on the stages of Jesus's crucifixion. For others, it could be a day of quiet reflection or private prayer. Additionally, hot cross buns, a type of sweet spiced bun with a cross on top, are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the UK. It should be noted that Good Friday, occurring the Friday before Easter Sunday, does not have a fixed date but instead falls between March 20th and April 23rd, as 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.
  • ‘Lenten Lilies’ or daffodils are often seen as a symbol of Good Friday in the United Kingdom, particularly in Northumberland where they are traditionally gathered for church decorations.
  • In Oxford, England, the Bishop of Oxford holds an annual Christian service, called the Three Hours' Service, on Good Friday.

Top things to do in the UK 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.
  • Participate in the Chester Easter Egg Rolling Competition: Held on Good Friday in Chester, children and families come together to roll and race Easter eggs down the slope of the Castle Hill.
  • Read a book to learn more about Good Friday in the UK:
    Easter: The Legends and the Facts - by Eleanor Farjeon: This book provides a detailed exploration of Easter traditions in the UK, including the significance of Good Friday.

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