Good Friday is not a federal holiday. That means that mail will be delivered, banks are open and delivery services such as UPS will be operating. But the stock market is the exception to this rule.
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed all day on April 19 in observance of Good Friday. The market will reopen on Monday, April 22, the day after Easter.
Good Friday is Not a Federal Holiday
Good Friday is the only non-federal holiday in which the stock market shuts down for the day. According to the New York Stock Exchange website, the markets had planned closures in 2019 for the following days:
• January 1: New Year’s Day
• January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• February 18: Presidents Day
• Good Friday: April 19
• Memorial Day: May 27
• Independence Day: July 4
• Labor Day: September 2
• Thanksgiving: November 28
• Christmas: December 25
Except for Good Friday, the rest of those dates are designated as federal holidays. The government has two additional dates on its list of federal holidays: Columbus Day on October 14 and Veterans Day on November 11. But the stock market remains open for both of those holidays.
Good Friday Marks the Day Christians Believe Jesus Christ Was Crucified to Redeem Mankind From Sin; It is Not a Holy Day of Obligation
Good Friday is the day Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ. As explained in the Bible, it is the day that Jesus appeared before Pontius Pilate and King Herod, was condemned to die, was beaten and “crowned” with a ring of thorns, and was crucified on a hill called Golgotha, which translates from Aramaic to “place of the skull.” The day is titled “Good” because even though Jesus suffered and died, Christians believe he did so in order to achieve redemption from sin for all of mankind.
Despite its significance, Good Friday is not actually a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. A holy day of obligation is when all practicing Catholics are required to attend mass. As listed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, holy days of obligation include Easter, Christmas, and the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Catholics are encouraged to attend a service on Good Friday, but it is not required. That is because the Good Friday service is not classified as a mass. The bread and wine, used for Communion, is sanctified on Holy Thursday. The only sacraments performed on Good Friday are the Anointing of the Sick and Penance. Baptism is also permitted in specific circumstances.
Catholics are also required to abstain from meat and to fast on Good Friday. Fasting in the Catholic Church is not as severe as you may think. Catholics are told to eat only one full meal for the day, along with two smaller meals, and told not to snack in between. The fasting requirement applies to adults between the ages of 18 and 59.