Good Friday is a solemn day of reverence in the church.
It is a time to reflect on the death of Jesus, which was the ultimate sacrifice He made for those who believed in Him.
In the Gospel of John, it states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Good Friday will be celebrated on April 18, 2014.
Here’s what you need to know about this Holy Day, its historical origins and its traditions.
1. It Commemorates Jesus’ Death on the Cross
Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Judea, found Jesus innocent, but the crowd that gathered cried, “Crucify him!”
Jesus was beaten and spit on, and a crown of thorns was placed on His head.
Nails were driven through his wrists and ankles and he was placed on a cross that held this mocking inscription, “The King of the Jews.”
2. There’s a Service but no Mass
From the earliest days of Christianity, no mass has been conducted on this day.
The special liturgy takes place between noon and 3 p.m., which is said to be the time of Jesus’ passing, in the year 30 A.D.
The Church is not decorated on this solemn day.
As if in mourning, the altar remains bare, and the door of the empty tabernacle stays open.
The Church celebrates the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John, intentions are offered, and parishioners venerate the Cross by kissing it.
Holy Communion is distributed.
Until the 4th century, Jesus’ Last Supper, his death, and his Resurrection were observed all together on the evening before Easter.
3. There Is Fasting & Abstinence
— Félix Felicís (@OmnipotentFelix) March 5, 2014
Since it is still a Friday of the Lenten season, Christians can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day.
Those over 14 cannot eat meat.
Some households maintain a quiet atmosphere, with limited television, radio and computer use, and partake in little or no outside activities.
4. It’s Called ‘Good’ Even Though Jesus Died
The explanation for this is that Good Friday has to take place in order to bring us to Jesus’ resurrection at Easter. Therefore, it is good.
In some areas of Europe, the day is called “Great” or “Holy.”
5. The Stations of the Cross Are Conducted
Most churches have each station, or moment of the Crucifixion, placed on the walls in order.
On Good Friday, parishioners follow the officiant and observe each station.
1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
2nd Station: Jesus carries His cross
3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time
4th Station: Jesus meets his mother
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross
6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7th Station: Jesus falls the second time
8th Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9th Station: Jesus falls a third time
10th Station: Jesus clothes are taken away
11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross
13th Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross
14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb