The celebration related to Good Friday forms a part of the Paschal Triduum. The festival falls on the Friday proceeding Easter Sunday i.e. during the Holy Week. Very often, Good Friday falls on the same day as Passover, a Jewish festival commemorating the Exodus of Jews from Egypt. After a period of rejoicing over the birth of Christ, his followers observe a time of penance and fasting. This period, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday, is known as Lent. Fasting and other forms of renunciation or self-sacrifice are recommended as ways of following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the desert, before he began his preaching.
Good Friday Activities
In some churches, mourners wear black on Good Friday and enact the Passion of Christ - scenes of Christ's crucifixion and burial. Many churches cover the cross and the altar with mourning black, and do not light any candles. At other churches, candles are lit, but they are lit one after another, with the last one being put out at the moment denoting Jesus' death. The church bells are not rung on Good Friday. Catholic churches follow the tradition of the Stations of the Cross.
The entire prayer ceremony on Good Friday is somber, with priests and deacons dressing up in black vestments. The pulpit and the altar are purposely left bare. The purpose behind the solemn presentation is to create an awareness of the grief over the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. The Roman Catholic Church observes Good Friday with several long-standing traditions. The Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion also takes place on this day.
Fun Activity Ideas for Good Friday
Cross Crafts & Coloring Pictures
Cross crafts and coloring pictures can form a great activity for kids on Good Friday. Different online sites provide various different coloring pages depicting crosses, Jesus, lambs, flowering vines and bread. You can download these pages, take a printout and engage your kids into the activity.
Planting seeds on Good Friday is considered symbolic of Jesus’ resurrection and the forgiveness of the sin. Explain this symbolism as well as the reason why Jesus had to die on the cross, by planting seeds with your children. Let them plant the seeds in cups and keep in the window or in a garden outside.
In some countries, kites made with wooden sticks in a cross shape are flown. Let your kids make their own kite or purchase a pre-made kite for them. Flying kites in the sky will help them visualize Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Fly kites with your kids and let them know about Good Friday and the symbolism of kite flying.
Making Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns are the most widespread traditions on Good Friday. Made with currants or raisins, these buns are sweet and spiced and have cross placed on top of each other. Engage your kids in preparing hot cross buns in the morning of Good Friday, before proceeding with other activities.
Get some appropriate books about the crucifixion of Jesus. Read out stories and tell your kids about Jesus Christ and the importance of Good Friday. This will generate interest in them, as there arises a good discussion about the events of Good Friday.
On Good Friday, special activities can be organized for kids, to make them learn the whole story behind the crucifixion of Jesus. For instance, drawing competition can be organized on the theme of Jesus. Plays can be enacted to make kids understand the importance of this day. They can also sing prayers in praise of God.