Good Friday celebrations are observed on the Friday before the Easter Sunday. It is the day to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Jesus preached about the right path of life, prayer and fasting which can throw away the evil. More and more people were moved by his preaching and started to accept Jesus Christ as their king. The church rulers fearing that this would cause the people to lose the loyalty on them planned a plot against Jesus Christ. They arrested Jesus and made him carry the cross on his shoulders and crucified him on the same cross. Three days later, Jesus arose to heaven.
The crucifixion was done on a Friday which is observed as Good Friday or great Friday. The Sunday following the Good Friday, in memory of Jesus arising to heaven is now celebrated as Easter Sunday.
In the lent period, the Christian prepare for what happened on Good Friday and Easter Sunday that is for execution of Jesus Christ and his resurrection to heaven three days after it. It starts from Ash Wednesday and goes up to the Easter Sunday forty days later. Lent is also a preparation for the years to come where you stay away from all the evil and bad practices. Giving up something during the forty day Lent period is thought to prepare the person to give up sinful practices around the year. It also helps the person to be intensely focused on self control and know the suffering Christ went through on the cross and before that. Good Friday is also a preparation day for the grand feast day, the Easter Sunday.
Good Friday is celebrated by taking fast and attending the service at the church.
The Good Friday service starts with venerating the holy cross where the people kisses the cross shaped plank which is a symbol for the cross on which Jesus Christ died. Jesus Christ is believed to have died at around three o'clock in the afternoon and hence the services at church are carried out for around three hours from noon. But now, many churches have shifted the service a bit earlier or a bit later taking the comfort of the believers into account. The service includes reading from the gospel on the seven last words of Christ. This is the only day when mass is not practiced in the church. The ceremony is somber and everyone dresses in black and no candles are lit on the altar and there is no cross or cloth anywhere. The church observes a silent day and the church bell does not ring, as it is a day of mourning, the darkest day in the history of Christianity.
People observe fast and abstinence on this day. Catholics eat just one meal the whole day or have two smaller sized servings. But orthodox Christians stay away from solid food and take only water and medicines. Christians who are in the age group of 18 to 60 are to observe fast and abstain from meat or meat product. Some have a strict vegetarian diet while some others include fish in their menu. Hot cross buns are associated with the Good Friday. It is spiced bread prepared with flour, honey candied fruits, raisins, milk and butter. Traditional fish meals are prepared on this day and the supper excludes any form of alcohol. Some believe that abstinence is not to be observed from meat only; they think that abstinence is not complete unless one stays away from all the food they like including chocolate and pastries.
On the Good Friday, Christians help the poor and give away food clothing and funds to them. It is the time to follow Jesus Christ's teaching of helping your brothers in need. Many churches concentrate more on giving a helping hand than on giving mass. Some even keep away from all sort of comfort and taste the experience of the underprivileged. This practice of self control and kindness is to be followed throughout the year.