Good Friday Holiday

Good Friday Holiday

Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday in the United States. It is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, which plays an important part in the Christian faith. It is not a federal holiday in the United States, although it is a state holiday in some states.

Is Good Friday a Public Holiday?

Good Friday is a public holiday in 11 states, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

 

Two female pilgrims, each carrying a wood cross, participate in the Good Friday pilgrimage walk to the Santuario de Chimayo in northern New Mexico.

©iStockphoto.com/JannHuizenga

What Do People Do?

Some Christians may attend special church services or prayer vigils. Good Friday is a day of mourning and quiet prayer for many Christians. The candles are often extinguished and statues, paintings and crosses may be draped in black, purple or gray cloth. Some Catholics treat Good Friday as a day of fasting, while others observe a partial fast involving the exclusion of meat.

Some homes keep a quiet atmosphere, with little or no outside activities and limited television, radio, and computer use, in observing Good Friday. Others choose to play music such as JS Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. Some people bake hot cross buns, a traditional Good Friday sweet.

Good Friday is another day at work for many Americans, as it is not a national holiday. Some people may choose to take a day off work and have a long “Spring Break” weekend. In some states, employees are given a day off on Good Friday.

Public Life

Good Friday is not an official holiday in the United States. Regular services will continue according the schedule in some areas, including Toledo, Ohio, where the city’s refuse will be collected during its regular schedule. However, financial markets, as well as many businesses, public schools and universities/colleges are closed on Good Friday.

Good Friday is a state holiday in some states such as Hawaii, where city and state offices are closed and some forms of public transport (eg. buses) run on the state holiday schedule. In some areas, such as Perry County in Tennessee, Good Friday is a school holiday. Good Friday is a holiday designated by the governor as a day of fasting and prayer in Connecticut.

In accordance with state law, Indiana state employees are given a day off on Good Friday, a religious holiday. In 1999, in the case of Bridenbaugh v O’Bannon, an Indiana state employee sued the governor for giving state employees Good Friday as a day off. The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiff, stating that the government could give state employees a paid day off when that day is a religious holiday, including Good Friday, but only so long as the state can provide a valid secular purpose that coincides with the obvious religious purpose of the holiday.

Background

Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

This is an important event in Christianity, as it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life. The crucifixion was the culmination of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Some churches organize a prayer vigil on Good Friday for various causes, such as for cancer patients or for the American troops who have been sent to the middle-east.

Symbols

The crucifix, or cross, which represents the way Jesus died, is an important symbol seen on Good Friday. Some crosses bear a figure of Christ. Other symbols of Good Friday include black cloth used to cover the cross, paintings and statues in churches and some homes to signify mourning.

About Good Friday in Other Countries

Read more about Good Friday.

Good Friday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2017Fri14 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2018Fri30 MarGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2019Fri19 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2020Fri10 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2021Fri2 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2022Fri15 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2023Fri7 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2024Fri29 MarGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2025Fri18 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2026Fri3 AprGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*
2027Fri26 MarGood FridayState holidayCTDEHIINKYLANCNDNJTNTX*

Is Good Friday a Public Holiday?

As an employer, you have probably been asked several times if Good Friday is an entitled day off for your employees. The answer in most cases is no.

The Republic of Ireland has nine public holidays each year. Public holidays are sometimes referred to as bank holidays but the terminology is confusing.  Bank holidays are where banks and schools close for the day. Public holidays on the other hand are as follows:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May, June, August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)

As you can see, Good Friday is not a considered a public holiday and as an employer, you have no obligation to provide this day off to your employees.

Rules for Public Holiday Pay

Employees are entitled to one fifth of their average working week – in most cases for full time staff this will mean an entitlement to a full day’s pay for a public holiday.   with the exception of Part-time employees must have worked a total of 40 hours within the 5 week period prior to the public holiday to qualify for the entitlement.  They are entitled to one fifth of their average working week, averaged over the preceding 13 weeks worked.

Employees who do qualify are entitled to the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

As an employer, understanding the laws and regulations of your employee’s payroll, the tax deductions, recent changes in USC, paid holidays and unpaid holidays, part time workers, and many other variations that come with managing payroll can be a complex task.  Here at Paycheck Plus, we understand these challenges are happy to help you.

The Origins and Practices of Holidays: Good Friday

Good Friday is an important holiday in the Christian religion as it commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. This is an important event because it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, taken through several trials, then tied and nailed by the wrists and feet to a large wooden cross and left to die. This is why a cross is often used as a symbol of the Christian faith.

The crucifixion was the conclusion of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper. Many wonder why the holiday is referred to as Good Friday given the tragic events it signifies. However, the ‘Good’ in Good Friday does not describe these events, it actually comes from old English when Good meant Holy.

Orthodox churches also celebrate Good Friday which they call Great Friday and Holy Friday. The principle is the same in that they use the holiday to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, the holiday is celebrated on a different day because Orthodox churches kept the Julian calendar after the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Europe in 1582. This holiday is also referred to as a “moveable feast” as the date changes according to the calendar’s calculations. This year Great/Holy Friday falls on Friday, April 26.

Many Christians and Orthodox Christians celebrate the holiday with strict fasting, while others observe a partial fast involving the exclusion of meat. Participants also attend special church services and prayer vigils. Some Orthodox churches begin observing Holy Friday on Thursday night where the liturgy’s main feature is accounts of Jesus Christ’s passion. Other churches may have a Good Friday liturgy Friday evening. Some Christians take on a somber attitude and maintain a quiet atmosphere in their homes with little to no entertainment or extracurricular activities. Others may play music and bake hot cross buns, a traditional Good Friday sweet. Many Orthodox Christian families may spend time decorating Easter eggs as part of the Easter preparations.

Good Friday is another day at work for many Americans, as it is not a national holiday. Some people may choose to take a day off work and in some states, employees are given a day off on Good Friday.

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