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Good Friday 2019 – History and Why it is Celebrated

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Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, will be celebrated on 19th April 2019.  For those who do not know what is Good Friday, this is the day on which Christians annually commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Since long, Good Friday has been observed as a day of sorrow, self-punishment and fasting. So this is what happened on Good Friday.

The story behind Good Friday

According to the Christian tradition, Jesus had his last meal with his disciples on the evening before his Crucifixion. So as per the Jewish Calendar, Jesus died on 15 Nisan, or on the first day (starting at sundown) of Passover. According to the Gregorian Calendar, that date would be April 7 but in contrast to this, some of the Jesus’ disciples state that Passover had not yet begun when Jesus had his last meal, which places the date of Jesus’ death on 14 Nisan. Christians, however, do not honour that fixed date. They commemorate the day as per their Jewish lunisolar calendar rather than the Gregorian solar calendar. Thus, Good Friday comes between March 20, the first tentative date for the Passover, and April 23.

About Good Friday

The way the Good Friday is celebrated has undergone various changes over the centuries. In the Roman Catholic Churches, a ritual is performed to celebrate the day. It consists of the reading of the Gospel Passion narrative, the devotion to the cross, and Communion. In the 17th century, an earthquake shook Peru. So a ‘Three Hour Service’, a meditation on Jesus’ Seven Last Words on the Cross was introduced to the Catholic rituals. The service takes place between noon and 3 PM. Similar services are there in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, where no Communion is celebrated on Good Friday.

In the Anglican Communion, the consumption of bread and wine has been declared sacred as it was consecrated the previous day. The Three Hour Service is common in North American churches as well, also, a variety of rituals are held on Good Friday in other Protestant churches.

Good Friday, because of its intense religious aura, has not acquired numerous secular customs and practices.

 

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