History of Good Friday
In Christianity, Jesus Christ’s death is one of the most important segments of the Holy Bible. Good Friday is part of the Paschal Triduum or Three Days and is observed during the Holy Week, preceding the Easter Sunday and is commemorated together with the Jewish observance of the Passover. It is believed, by dying, Lord Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of all humankind and thus his death symbolises the death and forgiveness for all of mankind's sins.
Celebration of Good Friday
The celebration of Good Friday varies in style and ritual in different parts of the world. In India, the festival of Good Friday has been declared as a public holiday officially by the Central Government as well as State Government. Since, it is a day of sorrow, most of the churches remain empty and dark and the services are held in the afternoon. The people wear black clothes, cover the statues, pictures and crosses with black, and all of them participates in the Holy Communion. In many churches, a bitter drink is prepared from leaves, vinegar and other ingredients, which is consumed by all.
Often large prayer meetings are organized especially in areas with a large Christian population. The 3 hours between the noon and 3:00 pm is considered to be the most sanctified as Jesus was crucified in this period of time after which he left for heavenly abode. At this time, a devotion known as 'Three Hours Agony' is held which is followed by meditation and reading the Gospel narratives. Passages from the Gospel which refers to the 7 Last Words of Jesus are read out to the people. After each reading, a message is put forward by the priest along with a silent meditation of a few minutes and a hymn. Devoted Christians perform unique rituals to show their devotion towards God like allowing them to be beaten and whipped.