For many Christians, the Friday before Easter Sunday holds the significance of being the day to remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
Known as “Good Friday” or “Holy Friday,” the observance has various traditions associated with it that are practiced by different denominations.
These traditions are oftentimes popular among denominations that are more traditional in their worship practices, like the Roman Catholic Church.
Here are seven interesting traditions associated with Good Friday. They include certain foods, live performances and even certain clothing choices.
A very popular way to observe Good Friday is the Passion Play, a performance usually outdoors that reenacts the final hours of Jesus’ life, from his arrest to his crucifixion.
Passion plays are said to have been first created in Europe during the Middle Ages, these dramatic performances are widely held throughout modern Christendom.
Some of the most popular include the play performed at Trafalgar Square in London and the elaborate procession held in Bensheim, Germany.
The village of Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps is said to have the longest tradition with their Passion Play, having performed the large local production regularly since 1634.
“It remains an entirely local production, with villagers taking all the parts and singing in the chorus. Since 1930 roofed seats have protected the audience from the weather. The production runs from May through September,” explained Britannica.
In the Caribbean nation of Bermuda, a local tradition regarding Good Friday is to fly kites, normally with a cross as part of the design.
According to legend, a Sunday School teacher used a kite to illustrate to his students how Jesus ascended into Heaven.
“Good Friday to most Bermudians is about flying kites on the beaches, enjoying festive atmosphere and having traditional Codfish Breakfast & Cakes,” noted bermuda-attractions.com.
“Initially the kite flying was done only after 3 p.m. in the afternoon. However these days you will see the kites flying all day long. Entry to the Kite Festival is free.”
In the Roman Catholic tradition, Good Friday is considered a day in which Catholics are to fast and to abstain from meat, with the rules on fasting varying within the global Church.
“For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal,” explained the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the ‘paschal fast’ to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.”
Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are a type of roll often baked with raisins and noted for having a cross shape on the top either imprinted with a knife or even consisting of icing.
Traditionally, they are eaten during Lent, especially on Good Friday. According to legend, they were first created by a 12th-century monk in preparation for Easter.
So closely associated with Good Friday are the food items, that in 1592 Queen Elizabeth I decided that they could only be eaten on Good Friday, Christmas and for burial ceremonies.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski