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How to Observe Good Friday

Good Friday is the day Christians mark the anniversary of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death. Commemorate it properly with these guidelines.


  • Step 1: Realize the day's significance Realize that no matter what type of Christian you are -- Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant -- Good Friday is the most somber day on the Christian calendar. Some Christians wear black clothes; others cover crosses and other religious artifacts with black cloth.
  • Step 2: Fast If you're a Catholic between the ages of 18 and 59 and healthy, fast on Good Friday. Catholic guidelines allow one full meal and two small snacks. No meat is allowed. Some members of the Orthodox Church abstain from all food, and many Protestant churches also encourage some form of fasting.
  • TIP: Some Christians begin the day with hot cross buns, a Lenten tradition that began in the 14th century when a group of monks distributed them to the poor on Good Friday.
  • Step 3: Blow out the candles Do not light any candles on Good Friday. Limiting light signifies the sadness of the day.
  • Step 4: Respect the sacred hours Remain somber and reflective during the most sacred hours of the day: between noon and 3 p.m., the hours Christ was on the cross.
  • Step 5: Attend church services Attend church services. Some Orthodox Christians stage a reenactment of Christ's burial, and some Protestant churches hold their service in the dark. Catholics traditionally hold a 3 p.m. service, as well as an evening Stations of the Cross ceremony, where Christ's final hours are reenacted.
  • TIP: Good Friday is the only day in the Roman Catholic calendar when Mass is not offered.
  • Step 6: End the day in meditation Because Good Friday is a day of penance and meditation, spend some time before bed thinking about how you can atone for your sins and be a better person.
  • FACT: Good Friday is an official state holiday in Hawaii.

You Will Need

  • Fasting
  • Church services
  • Meditation
  • Black clothes (optional)
  • Hot cross buns (optional)

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