Good Friday (also called “Great Friday” or “Holy Friday”) is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.
Christians observe Good Friday every year to celebrate Jesus’ crucifixion, death and suffering. The day is observed 3 days before Easter Sunday. Good Friday and the Easter date solely depend on the ecclesiastical estimation of the March equinox.
According to the Christian faith, Good Friday is not a festive day but a sad day to mourn the death of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Good Friday’ is believed to have originated from the Gallican church in Gaul (modern day Germany and France). The church named this day ‘Gute Fretage’ which basically means Holy or Good Friday. Some Christians believe that it was originally known as God Friday before the word God was dropped and replaced with good. They believe that this change happened because the word God was very holy for commoners to utter. In some nations, Good Friday is also known as Great Friday, Long Friday, Holy Friday, Silent Friday and Black Friday.
Adherents of the Christian faith believe that the day is rightfully called Good Friday since on this day Jesus Christ died and arose to heaven to cleanse the sins of the people. Easter is then celebrated to mark the day Jesus arose from death.
In the first century, Friday was considered a special and important day for fasting and praying, although this had no connection to the crucifixion of Jesus. However, in the fourth century, the church started celebrating the Friday before Easter as a special day when Jesus was crucified. The Greek Church was the first church to name it the Great Friday before the name was changed to Good Friday in the 6th or 7th century.
Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:
Mark 15:25, 33
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him… And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.
Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called “Tre Ore” or “Three Hours’ Agony” might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion — reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on what Christ has done for you. At 3:00, “The Hour” He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.
Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday), empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows. In another break in the tradition of veiling statues since Passion Sunday, they might dress the image of Our Lady in a black dress or veil, placing flowers of mourning before it in her honor.