Archive for the "Religious" Category
Good Friday is a Christian holiday that observes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This day falls on the Friday immediately before Easter Sunday, the day in which Jesus is thought to have risen out of his grave into Heaven. This holiday is observed in many regions of the world, and some people take the day off of work. Celebrations can vary depending on what sect of Christianity one follows.
Good Friday commemorates the day in which Jesus was convicted of blasphemy by the Roman high priest and sentenced to crucifixion. He was not believed to be the son of God, and therefore punished for what the priest viewed as a crime. Christians view this day as so important in the history of their religion because this act is considered as Jesus dying for the sins of all man.
Secret followers of Jesus Christ kept his body and enclosed it in a tomb. That following Sunday, the body was missing, and Christians believe this act was him rising from the grave. That particular Sunday is better known as Easter Sunday. Easter is considered the most important holiday in the Christian religion, and Good Friday is closely followed.
Church Observations and Celebrations
While Easter Sunday has turned into a mainstream holiday in many aspects, Good Friday is not. Christians take Good Friday very seriously, and they celebrate it in numerous ways. Catholics often fast for the entire day, while others in the same sect might fast with the exception of one meal. Others still may exclude one food group from their daily meals, such as meat and fish.
Christians from all branches of the religion may put on plays to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus. These are often church events, although some communities take these reenactments out into the streets for the public to witness. Such acts are considered important in a time where Easter Sunday often takes precedence over Good Friday, and consumers are more concerned over the Easter Bunny than what these Christian holidays really mean.
In the midst of a busy society, many western Christians simply go to church on Good Friday. This is especially the case in the United States where many people do not get the day off work for celebrations. Pictures of Jesus as well as crosses are often displayed on this holiday.
The extent of public celebrations depends on where Good Friday is celebrated. While a large portion of the world’s population observes this holiday, it is not considered a government holiday in most cases. For example, the U.S. does not officially consider Good Friday as a federal holiday, which means that all related offices are open. At the same time, however, individual states have the option of making this a holiday in which offices at the state level close. Sometimes Good Friday occurs during the week of spring break; in this instance, school professionals and students have the day off.
Other countries do regard Good Friday as a public holiday. While this is more common in eastern nations, the United Kingdom is one example of a western nation that still closes its government on Good Friday.
Just as Easter does not fall on the same date every year, Good Friday depends on the March Equinox. It can occur as soon as March, and as late as mid-April. In 2012, Good Friday occurred on April 6th, while it is slated to take place on March 29th in 2013. In 2014, Good Friday is scheduled for April 18th.
Good Friday Gift Ideas
Ash Wednesday is a holiday celebrated within Western Christian denominations. It also marks the first day of Lent, which is the time between Ash Wednesday and the Easter Holiday. Christians celebrate the six weeks leading up to Easter through reflections and rituals of repentance. The observance of the holiday is thought to date back as far as the eighth century.
Since Easter Sunday doesn’t have a set date, Ash Wednesday does not have a designated date either. Generally, it is set 46 days before Easter. For this reason, Ash Wednesday can occur between February 4th and March 10th. In 2013, the holiday is set for February 13th.
Observations and Rituals
Ash Wednesday is an important day in many Christian faiths, as it indicates Easter Sunday is near. According to the Bible, Good Friday was the day Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of mankind, and he was resurrected the following Sunday, better known as Easter. This weekend of the year is considered the most important in Christianity, and many followers take special time to recognize and reflect on their faith. Ash Wednesday is utilized to help Christians remember their faith and to find opportunities to be better humans in accordance to their religion.
On Ash Wednesday, many churches hold special services that are separate from the usual Sunday ceremonies. Depending on the church, the services may be offered in the early morning or late evening to accommodate schedules. Some churches even offer Ash Wednesday services all day long.
The holiday is called Ash Wednesday because of an old ritual in which people covered themselves with ashes. Such customs are outlined in the Bible as far back as the Old Testament. For this reason, many churches participate in a custom in which ashes are marked in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of church-goers.
While ashes seem to be the center of the rituals of this holiday, Christians celebrate Ash Wednesday in a number of other ways, too. For example, some people give something up for the entire Lent, such as a favorite food or a bad habit in order to recognize the sacrifices of Jesus. Other people may confess sins to their preachers or take the opportunity to write them down and repent in private. Also, many people don’t eat meat derived from poultry and mammals on Ash Wednesday, a custom that is similar to that of Good Friday.
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday, but not all denominations observe it. The holiday is primarily observed by Roman Catholics as well as Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methods. Catholics traditionally embrace the traditions of Ash Wednesday on a stricter basis. For instance, many adult followers fast for the entire day by eating just one meal. Eastern Orthodox Christians do not observe Ash Wednesday, although they do celebrate Lent.
The rituals of Ash Wednesday are questioned by some, as critics point out that the Bible doesn’t outline any requirements for any such ceremonies. However, church-goers interpret certain sections of the Bible of repentance through Ash Wednesday as a way of recognizing the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
Ash Wednesday Gift Ideas