In the United States, 10 states observe Good Friday as state holiday: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee. It is an optional holiday in Texas.
It is becoming a holiday that is more widely observed than some Federal holidays with an estimated 20% of employees enjoying a holiday on Good Friday.
As Good Friday does not have Federal holiday status for the United States Postal Service, then there will still be a mail service.
When is Good Friday?
Many countries observe Good Friday as a national holiday on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Some countries observe the Orthodox calendar in which Good Friday may occur on a different date.
What is Good Friday?
The most important events in Christianity are the death and later resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God, and whose life and teachings are the foundation of Christianity.
After the last supper, Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, put on trial, sentenced to death. He was then tied and nailed by the wrists and feet to a large wooden cross and left to die. This is why the cross is used as a symbol of the Christian faith.
Good Friday is a day of mourning. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith.
Why is it called ‘Good Friday’?
At first glance, it seems a strange name for a day that marked such a terrible event as a crucifixion, but when we look at the origin of the name it becomes clearer… or it would if there was one origin that people could agree on. As it stands, you can take your pick from the following:
Some say it comes from the use of “Good” as an adjective applied to the day, which is an Old English synonym for “holy.”
Others believe it stems from a corruption of the word “God,” in much the same way that “Good Bye” comes from the phrase “God be with ye.” So the name may be derived from ‘God’s Friday’.
Undoubtedly most Christians perceive the day as “good” because the message of Easter is of Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil. Indeed, the New Testament is also known as the Gospel, which is Greek for ‘Good News’.
Also, it also worth noting that this confusion over the name is mainly confined to Western European and North American Christians. Eastern Orthodox Christians call it “Great and Holy Friday. Around the rest of the world, it’s known as Holy Friday in most Latin nations, ‘Great Friday’ by the Slavic peoples, “Friday of Mourning” in Germany and “Long Friday” in Norway.
Good Friday Traditions
Many Church services are held in the afternoon, usually between noon to 3pm, to remember the hours when Jesus was crucified on the cross.
Some churches observe the day by re-enacting the process of the cross in the rituals of stations of the cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life. Other churches may participate in Veneration of the Cross, a short ceremony in which Christians kneel before the cross and affirm their faith.
In Jerusalem, Christians follow in Jesus’ footsteps and walk Via Dolorosa, the traditional path that led to the site of the crucifixion. Many who participate try to ritually bear the same weight Jesus did by carrying crosses on their backs.
Though it’s not a public holiday in the Vatican or Italy, the Pope will say a mass at the Vatican before leads an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome. A procession is then made to the Palatine Hill, accompanied by a huge cross covered in burning torches.
Alfombras in Central America
In some Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the streets are decorated with vividly hued designs along the route of Good Friday processions. The tradition of creating these “alfombras,” Spanish for carpet or rug, originated in Spain’s Andalusia region. The practice crossed the pond with missionaries more than 400 years ago. The patterns often depict religious or natural images, created from brightly coloured sawdust. Alfombras are not meant to endure. The patterns disappear beneath the feet of the marchers and spectators.
Hot Cross Buns
A traditional Good Friday treat in the UK, Canada and Australia. Only available at this time of year, these sweet buns are made from a yeast dough augmented with raisins, currants and sometimes a little citron. They’re decorated with a cross made of light frosting, two strips of plain dough, or just a knife imprint. The hot cross buns tradition is savoured by cultures around the world, going back to at least the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth I is said to have forbidden their sale except on Good Friday, Christmas or for burials. The last two occasions have fallen by the wayside: Once Good Friday is over, you’re unlikely to see the treats until next year.
Good Friday Fish Fries in Central US
From Nashville to St. Louis, from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, across Ohio, and elsewhere in the heartland, Good Friday is the night to seek out a down-home fish fry. Sponsored by churches, youth groups, volunteer fire departments, and organizations like the Knights of Columbus, the dinners are held at community gathering places such as American Legion halls, school auditoriums, and restaurants. One goal is to encourage diners to follow the tradition of skipping meat on Good Friday. But the multipurpose events also promote fellowship and community outreach and are great fund-raisers for civic or church-sponsored groups and activities.
Good Friday 2022, 2023 and 2024
Good Friday is an official public holiday in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, East Malaysia. Easter is the most ancient of Christian festivals, older than Christmas, and is considered the most important date in the Christian calendar.
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Most commonly, Easter is understood to include Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which are three days apart. However Easter truly refers to Easter Sunday – the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is remembered and celebrated.
Though Easter is traditionally more important, in modern society Christmas is promoted as the key Christian celebration and is celebrated with much more colour, music, gift giving and festivity.
Yet, amongst Christians, Easter is still given the higher importance. For many Christians who follow the liturgical calendar (the Church calendar), Easter is preceded by 40 days of fasting, and Good Friday and Easter Sunday are marked by Church services full of meaning and importance.
“Easter, the scholars tell us, is the oldest feast in the history of Christianity, but it really only came into focus as a distinct celebration in the late second century… The truth is that Easter, Resurrection, has been celebrated in the Church every Sunday since the first week after the resurrection itself.” –Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Sabah & Sarawak
Public Holidays In London For 2022-2023
Find out when the UK has bank holidays in 2022. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Find out more about 2022 UK bank holidays, including what’s open when and key dates such as Easter and Christmas.
The UK has about eight public holidays a year.
Some businesses and attractions in London may be closed or have limited opening hours on bank holidays. Public transport may also be reduced.
Public transport in London does not operate on Christmas Day and has a limited service on Boxing Day. Most attractions, shops and restaurants are closed.
On Easter Sunday, large shops in London have to be closed by law, but small shops can open. Public transport services may be reduced over the long Easter weekend.
Public holidays, or bank holidays as they are called in the UK, are spread throughout the year and mark religious, historical and special events. Many of London’s shops, attractions and businesses stay open throughout the public holidays. Make sure to check opening times before visiting on these days, as some places have reduced hours while others might not open at all.
Services on public transport might also be reduced. Plan your journey in advance on the Transport for London website.
The UK has eight public holidays. Make plans for the upcoming Easter weekend, which includes the Good Friday bank holiday (15 April) and Easter Monday bank holiday (18 April).
Public holiday dates
New Year’s Day
Monday 3 January (substitute day)
Monday 2 January (substitute day)
Friday 15 April
Friday 7 April
Monday 18 April
Monday 10 April
Early May bank holiday
Monday 2 May
Monday 1 May
Spring bank holiday
Thursday 2 June
Monday 29 May
Platinum Jubilee bank holiday
Friday 3 June
Summer bank holiday
Monday 29 August
Monday 28 August
Tuesday 27 December (substitute day)
Monday 25 December
Monday 26 December
Tuesday 26 December
On Easter Sunday, large shops have to close by law. Small shops, pharmacies, and shops in airports and train stations are allowed to open.
Public transport might be reduced over the Easter bank holidays. Most attractions are open over Easter.
School term dates change from year to year and differ from school to school. Local authority-run schools and independent schools sometimes have different term dates.
Traditionally, the school year has three terms, with short mid-term (half-term) breaks and a longer break over the summer:
Summer holiday: late July to early September
Autumn half-term: last week of October
Christmas holidays: late December to early January
Spring half-term: one week in mid-February
Easter holidays: two weeks either side of Easter Sunday
Summer half-term: one week at end of May or early June
However, many local authorities have adopted a standard school year, which is made up of six terms, each of a similar length. Find out more about school holidays and half term in London.
Oxford Circus is decorated with lights around the Christmas holiday
Christmas holidays and closures
The one time of year when London feels quiet is on Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December).
Public transport does not operate on Christmas Day and has a reduced service on Boxing Day and the Christmas bank holidays.
Most London attractions and shops, as well as many restaurants, are closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Things to do in London on a bank holiday weekend
A bank holiday in London provides the perfect opportunity to discover more of the city, from its top attractions and family activities to exploring new areas of the city. Pick up a sightseeing pass to see many of London’s top sights in one weekend and keep a look out for special events.
Start the year on a high with activities on New Year’s Day in London, enjoy an action-packed Easter weekend in the capital, celebrate spring during the early May bank holiday and the spring bank holiday later in the month, or soak up the sun and carnival atmosphere over the summer bank holiday weekend in London.
Towards the end of the year, enjoy fun Christmas activities, including unique things to do on Christmas Day.