Good Friday seeks to commemorate the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified, for the sins committed by the entire humankind. On this day, as per the Catholic Church, people recite prayers and sing hymns. While some churches focus specifically on the events of the last week of Jesus’ life, many of the liturgies symbolize larger themes that marked Jesus’ entire ministry. Observances during this week range from daily liturgical services in churches to informal meetings in homes. Many people also participate in a Christian version of the Passover Seder. Read on to know more about the rituals that are observed on Good Friday.
Customs & Traditions of Good Friday
Good Friday rituals are distinct from those of all other Church observances and add to the holiday’s considerable significance. The entire ceremony is somber, with priests and deacons dressing in black vestments. The pulpit and the altar are left bare, with no candles lighting them up. The main aim behind this solemn celebration is to make people aware of the grief over the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. The Roman Catholic Church observes Good Friday with several long-standing traditions, one of which is fasting, with only one meal taken in the whole day.
Throughout the world, Christian countries have chosen different ways to observe Good Friday. In almost all of them, there is a three-hour service in the church, wherein passages from the Gospel are read about the Seven Last Words of Jesus. Each reading is followed by a message from the priest, a few minutes of silent meditation and a hymn. As Jesus was on the Cross between noon and 3:00 pm, when he finally left the world, the three hours are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called Three Hours Agony is held at this time and is followed by meditation and reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion.
Good Friday rituals also involved the making of select recipes. For instance, many people make and eat hot cross buns. These buns are small rolls marked with a cross on top. While the Roman Catholic Church observes Good Friday with several long-standing traditions, the most intense observance of the holiday is found in the Philippines. Here, Christians hold processions in the streets and enact plays that recreate the events of Jesus Christ’s final day. Devoted Christians allow themselves to be whipped and beaten, and a few even get themselves nailed to a cross, to demonstrate their faithfulness towards God.
Last Word of Jesus
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Woman, here is your son... Here is your mother
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?)
I am thirsty
It is finished
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit