Good Friday 2022: History, significance, and more
Good Friday is a legal holiday in most countries. It is remembered as the day when Jesus Christ was crucified. From early times, Good Friday has been observed as a day of penance and fasting, expressed well by the German word Karfreitag meaning "Sorrowful Friday." In Old English, the day was called "Long Friday;" parallels of this term are still used in Scandinavian languages.
Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday, Great and Holy Friday. Since the day is meant to be a somber occasion, laws of some countries prohibit activities like dancing and horse racing on Good Friday. The date varies every year based on the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
Nothing seemingly "good" can be related to the day. So how did the day get named "Good" Friday? Some suggest that the phrase is a corruption of "God's Friday." However, according to Oxford English Dictionary, the term "good" in this context refers to a day observed as holy by the church. This makes sense with reference to the greeting "good tide" on Christmas.
In the Middle Ages, "Stations of the Cross" was popularized as a symbolic pilgrimage by Francis of Assisi. Crosses were placed at intervals with art depicting scenes from Jesus's life. People prayed, read, or heard Biblical passages at each stop. Many read passages from the Bible, attend sermons, and sing hymns in praise of the lord. Some people also fast on this day.
Until the 4th century, Jesus' Last Supper, death, and Resurrection were all observed together on the evening before Easter. Several secular traditions have grown related to Christmas and Easter, but the intense religious connotation of Good Friday did not lead to an overlay of secular customs and practices. Many Christians across the world fast and attend religious services on Good Friday.