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What Is Good Friday?

Good Friday — the Friday before Easter — marks the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world. The term Good Friday might be a bit confusing if you associate good with happy. Good Friday isn’t a happy day, but its name is a reminder that humans can only be considered good because of what happened on that day.

Some believe that its name was originally God’s Friday, which, over the years, became its present name. In Germany, Christians call it Quiet Friday (from noon on Friday until Easter morning, church bells remain silent). Christians in other parts of Europe call it Great Friday or Holy Friday.

Good Friday is a day of mourning and sorrow over the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and a reminder that the sins of all people made it necessary for him to die in the first place. It’s also a day of gratitude for the supreme sacrifice that he made.

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Protestant churches sometimes hold services between noon and 3:00 p.m. to commemorate Jesus’ hours on the cross. Catholics often remove everything from the altar and kiss the crucifix as an expression of worship. Some churches even hold a Service of Darkness in which candles are extinguished until people are left sitting in total darkness, as a reminder of the darkness that covered the earth after Jesus died, as written in Luke 23:44–46:

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
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