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Good Friday is a solemn day on the Christian calendar. It was on this day thousands of years back, that Jesus was crucified by the Romans on the outskirts of Jerusalem at Calvary. Three days later, Jesus resurrected and that Sunday has come to be commemorated as Easter Sunday.

Good Friday is a day of mourning in all the churches. Special services are held, urging Christians to remember how Jesus suffered for their sins and reaffirm their faith in the Lord.

When is Good Friday in 2024?

The date of Good Friday differs from year to year on the Gregorian as well as the Julian calendar. It is observed during the Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum, two days before the Easter Sunday, following the Maundy Thursday.

In 2024, Good Friday falls on 29 March.

How is Good Friday observed?

Being a day of mourning, Good Friday is observed rather than celebrated.

Believers usually visit their churches and kneel before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Rosary prayer is often recited on this holy day. 3:00 PM is a particularly important time to drop whatever you’re doing and pray, for it is believed that Jesus was crucified at this very hour. It is customary to keep Jesus in your thoughts all day long, and reflect on his death.

Different sects of Christianity have different traditions linked to the day. The Roman Catholic churches hold a service with Holy Communion rather than a Mass. The Byzantine Christians attend morning prayers, Matins, with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels and the Entombment Vespers.

Good Friday is a public or federal holiday in many countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK, but not in Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

What to eat on Good Friday?

Observing Good Friday involves a longstanding tradition of abstaining from consuming meat, including lamb, chicken, beef, pork, ham, and deer. In ancient times, meat was considered a delicacy, reserved for joyous celebrations. Hence, as a mark of acknowledging and doing penance for Jesus’ death, individuals refrain from consuming warm-blooded animals. Instead, meals predominantly feature fish along with eggs, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Christians also buy and gift Hot Cross Buns to their loved ones on this day. This custom dates back to the 12th century when an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honour of Jesus.

Byzantine Christians observe a strict fast on Good Friday. While their Protestant counterparts observe no such tradition, most of them do stick to the no-meat rule much like the Catholics.