Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, which is the traditional celebration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of his mission.

The estimated year was 33 AD, using the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and is the first Friday after the Pascal Full Moon, the calculation of which varies between Western and Eastern Christianity. Depending on the Christian denomination and century, it is either the most important date on the church calendar (sacrifice for others), or the second most important (promise of resurrection). The latter is the main view in modern times. Some churches celebrate earlier in the week, since Jesus said he would rise in 3 days, but the traditional dating system would make it less than 2 (traditionally 40 hours, although this is not mentioned in any canonical text). The Roman numeral counting system was very different from ours, however, and would have counted Good Friday in the three days.

Considering the events depicted, “Good” might seem a strange name for it, but is actually an archaic version of “Holy”. The entire sequence of events of Easter week are known as “The Passion”.

Good Friday is a national holiday in most Christian nations, 12 American states, and most US territories. (Sorry, European bashers, you are wrong again. The “Godless Socialists” take Good Friday off.) Good Friday was even in national holiday in communist European countries. My mother used this fact to escape from East Germany on Good Friday.

Good Friday celebrations often involve some form of personal sacrifice, such as fasting, and churches can be draped in mourning. All of which changes on Easter.

There are a number of appropriate films one can see on the subject, including “Son of “God in theaters now, or “The Passion of the Christ”, which came out a few years ago.

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