Why is Good Friday Celebrated?

Good Friday is a Christian holiday, it is observed during the holy week, which falls on the last week of Lent or Sixth Lent Week.

On this day, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.

The holy week is a remembrance of events that occurred the last week of Jesus' life according to Christianity beliefs. The holy week starts with Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus entry to Jerusalem on a donkey, people received him with glee, and they laid palm leaves in his path. Jesus was called the son of David (Matthew 21:5).

The next important day during the holy week is Maundy Thursday. On this day, Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Last Supper of the Eucharist, one of the most important elements of Christian worship to this day.

Good Friday, also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, and in some circles, Black Friday, commemorates Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting.

Continuing with holy week´s description, the next observed day is Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil. Jesus was buried in a cave tomb after his crucifixion. Finally, there comes Easter Sunday, the day on which Jesus resurrected, according to the Gospels, on the third day after his crucifixion.

For Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the most reminded events, among others, are when Jesus cursed the fig tree and cleansed the temple, Jesus predicted his death (John 12:20-36), and Judas arranged his betrayal of Jesus.

Let us go back to Good Friday. According to the accounts in the Gospels, Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Roman soldiers, guided by Judas Iscariot, who received 30 pieces of silver coins for betraying Jesus. Judas, seeing what he had done, hung himself from a tree. Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas asked Jesus to respond to a question under solemn oath: Are you the Son of God? Jesus answered: You have said it, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty. Caiaphas condemned Jesus for blasphemy and sentenced him to death. At that moment, Peter, one of the 12 disciples, was in the courtyard, he was accused to be with Jesus and his followers. Peter denied Jesus, three times, just as Jesus told him was going to happen. Peter wept bitterly. On the morning of Friday, Jesus was brought to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, the charges that fell on him were: calling himself king, refusing to pay taxes to Caesar, and revolting against Rome. Pilate questioned that there were no bases for a sentence, and since Jesus was from Galilee, he should be taken to King Herod. Herod received Jesus and questioned him, but received no answers, then Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate decided to order their soldiers to whip Jesus and have him released after. The crowd that was in the courtyard asked for Barabbas, a criminal that was in prison, to be released and place Jesus instead of him, and they demanded Jesus to be crucified. Finally, Pilate declared Jesus innocent and washed his hands showing he wasn´t part of the condemnation. Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross. He was compelled to carry the cross towards "Golgotha", a word that means Calvary. Jesus then was crucified along with two criminals, he agonized for six hours and died at 3 pm. Before his death, Jesus spoke and said, according to Psalms 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". The body of Jesus was removed from the cross and buried.

This is the chronicle of the death of Jesus on a day that is now remembered as Good Friday. On this day Christians commemorate the passion of Jesus. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Nowadays, many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday. In 2021, Holy Friday was observed on April 2nd. Members of many Christian denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, and some others observe this day. Good Friday is a public holiday in many countries.

In Jerusalem, for example, Christians follow in Jesus’ footsteps, they walk the same path towards the calvary. In London, England, thousands of Brits gather to watch a passion play depicting the crucifixion in Trafalgar Square, this is a free event and open to the public. In Germany, there is a procession in Bensheim. There is always a theatrical performance of the betrayal, sentencing, scourging, and death of Jesus. In Iztapalapa, Mexico, about 4,000 actors reenact Christ’s walk to his death. The man who plays the role of Jesus wears a crown of thorns and is flogged in the streets; he also carries a 200-pound cross.

In General, Christians keep this day with great devotion, since it represents the most important pillar of their faith, for what Jesus died on the cross for us and the forgiveness of our sins.

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