Observation of Good Friday has a Realistic Touch for some Christians in Jerusalem
Today marks the traditional observance of Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Good Friday is typically a day of mourning and quiet prayer and reflection.
Many Christians will attend special church services and prayer vigils, with some Catholics treating the day as a fasting day or partial fast excluding meat. Candles are normally extinguished, and paintings, crosses and statues are usually draped in dark cloth (black, purple, or gray).
While most Christians are observing Good Friday from the comfort of their home or their local church, a few hundred walked through Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, carrying wooden crosses while reciting prayers to mark the crucifixion of Jesus. They walked the cobbled alleys in a traditional procession that retraces Jesus’ path along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the “Way of Suffering”.
The group stopped at his 14 stations, saying a prayer at each one, ending at the ancient Holy Sepulcher Church. Franciscan friars accompanied them, chanting prayers in Latin and explaining each of the different stations through a megaphone, to the masses gathered at the stations.
The Good Friday proceedings began earlier in the day at Holy Sepulcher, where it is traditionally believed Jesus was crucified, briefly entombed and resurrected. There will be a service later in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.
“Israel’s Tourism Ministry said it expects some 150,000 visitors in Israel during Easter week and the Jewish festival of Passover, which coincide this year.” (foxnews.com)
As Good Friday is not necessarily a day of celebration, but a day of prayer, reflection and mourning, it is truly not intended to be a day spent frolicking in the sun and enjoying the precipice of spring and the joys of free time. Some suggestions from a Catholic online source: observe the three hours silence at home; each member of the family chooses a particularly unpleasant job and completes it; plant seeds (a tradition for Good Friday) or make hot-cross buns. (catholic.org)
While Good Friday is typically just another working day in the United States, as it is not officially recognized as a federal or religious holiday in most states, those who have a deep religious conviction may choose to take the day off to observe it with their family. Others may see it as a way to take an extended “spring break” or three day weekend, using Good Friday as an excuse or little white lie while calling in.