The Friday before Easter is the most solemn day for Christians - it is the day on which Jesus Christ died on the cross. This day is known as Good Friday, Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday. As such, Good Friday is a day of mourning, and all the ceremonies and rituals of the day are centered on the feeling of sorrow, at the pain and humiliation that Jesus underwent for the cause of goodness and humanity. The message of Good Friday is that the dictum of "an eye for an eye" cannot work. The way to conquer evil is through good. Similarly, violence can be overcome only by non-violence and hatred by love.
Good Friday is devoted to fasting and prayer, as a way of following the example of Jesus, who stressed the role of prayer in the struggle to conquer evil. The service consists of prayers and readings from the Bible. In many churches, a piece of wood in the shape of the cross is kept. People pray before the cross and kiss it. Jesus is believed to have died on the Cross at three in the afternoon. Therefore, the traditional service lasts for three hours from noon. Some churches concentrate less on prayers, and instead, encourage people to become involved in charitable deeds.
In some churches, mourners wear black 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 extinguished one by one, 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. People pass before paintings depicting the important scenes of the last hours of Jesus' life, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
Good Friday Date 2013: 29 March.