Good Friday commemorates the suffering and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It is observed by Christians around the world, especially in the Catholic and Anglican countries. For Christians in India, too, it is a day dedicated to fasting, praying, and meditating on the agony and suffering of Jesus. Many churches have a subdued service with solemn hymns and prayers of thanksgiving. The message is centered on observance of the Lord’s Supper and his suffering for his followers. The Friday before Easter Sunday is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. It is also known as Easter Friday, Black Friday, Holy Friday or Great Friday. In Eastern Christianity, which follows the Julian calendar, Easter falls on the first Sunday following the full Moon on or after March 21, the date of the spring equinox. The Western calculation uses the Gregorian or Christian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
Many Christians usually wear black clothes on this day. The statues and pictures of Christ, and the cross, are covered with black. The clergy wears black vestments instead of purple or red that is customary throughout Lent. Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. According to tradition, these buns were originally made by the monks at the monastery of St Alban’s Abbey in the year 1361, and distributed to the poor people who came there. It is an old belief that a baby born on Good Friday and baptized on Easter Sunday will have the spiritual gift of healing. According to Catholic tradition, this is the only day when the candle is unlit and there is no mass service in the church.
Good Friday Activities
A Solemn Occasion:
Good Friday is a day of mourning and fasting. Many schools are closed on the occasion to enable children to participate in family observances of this solemn day.
The Church’s altar is bare, and devoid of ornaments.
The door of the empty tabernacle (liturgical furnishing where the Eucharist is stored outside of mass in church) is open.
Devotees try to understand the struggle of Jesus and at what cost he won their redemption.
Families attend Good Friday services at church and walk the ‘stations’ or ‘ways’ of the cross.
Most Catholic churches have 14 images of Christ’s final days displayed.
Followers pray at each of the images as they walk past them.
Veneration of the cross is also common; devotees kneel before, or kiss part of the wooden cross.
The worship services begin by noon and last for three hours, which people believe is the amount of time Jesus spent crucified on the cross.
Good Friday liturgy consists of three parts: The first where clergy and assisting ministers enter the church in complete silence, Liturgy of the Word, without any singing; the second is the Veneration of the Cross where the cross is solemnly unveiled and displayed to the congregation; and lastly, the Holy Communion, starting with ‘Our Father’ but leaving out the ceremony of ‘Breaking of the Bread’ and its related chant, which is done according to a rite based on the final part of mass.
The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a day of fasting, where people have only one full meal, which is smaller than a regular meal.
Good Friday food
4–5 cups wheat flour
4–5 tsp or 28 gram dry yeast
1 cup milk
¾ cup water
½ cup margarine (½ cup oil or ½ cup butter)
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
Sesame seeds for garnishing
Take a large bowl and mix 2 cups of flour and yeast together.
In another bowl, mix milk, water, oil, sugar and salt.
Microwave the mixture until it is lukewarm.
Add this to the flour mixture, and beat it until it becomes smooth. This will take 2–3 minutes, depending on the hand blender.
Mix the remaining flour to the mixture, and make soft dough.
Mix the dough until it is soft and sticky.
Grease a bowl with oil, and allow the dough to rest in the bowl for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, shape the dough into small balls, place it on a greased baking sheet and allow it to double in size.
This may take about 45 minutes. Decorate the balls with sesame seeds.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree Celsius, and bake the buns for about 15 minutes
Buns are ready to serve.