Good Friday is the day that commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on a wooden cross in the early first century.
According to the Bible, Jesus came to die for mankind and rescue them from sin. Even though he came peacefully, the Jews of the day were determined to be rid of him because his teachings upset their religious ways. They demanded Jesus be crucified, even though the man who needed to give the order, Pontius Pilate, believed in the innocence of Jesus.
Christians today remember the crucifixion of Jesus and celebrate the miraculous event where he rose from death on the third day after he died. He died on the day we now know as Good Friday and rose to life on the day we now celebrate as Easter Sunday.
Unlike most public holidays, the dates for the Easter weekend vary each year. Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday that falls after the first full moon that occurs on or after the March equinox, meaning that it can fall anywhere from late March to mid April. The equinox is when the earth has tilted in such a way that the length of night and day are about the same – Latin: aequus – equal; nox – night. They occur approximately on 20 March and 22 September.
On Good Friday, most businesses close but many shops are open. Christians usually attend Good Friday church services. Often Catholics abstain from meat on Good Friday and fish is usually eaten. Easter buns or hot-cross buns are a favourite at Easter and are a yeast bun with dried fruit and spices, and a white cross on top.
The Easter weekend is a holiday weekend and aligns with school holidays meaning that many families take the opportunity to travel to locations within the UK or overseas. Travel during this time is very busy and many retirees will deliberately wait for the holidays to be over before they book their spring and summer travel.