Good Friday

Good Friday (or Holy Friday) occurs between March 20 and April 23 on the Friday before Easter in this region. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary. There are few explanations as to why the holiday is known as "Good" Friday since it commemorates a sorrowful time in Christianity. Some scholars believe that "good" is a corruption of the word "God's" while others speculate that "good" was used to denote "holy". In Eastern Orthodox churches, the observance is known as Great Friday.

Observances by most Christians includes prayer and vigil services, fasting, almsgiving and some family gatherings. Good Friday has been observed since about 100 C. E. However, for many years it had no association with Jesus' death but was simply another day of fasting. Since the late fourth century, it has been associated with the crucifixion.

Easter Sunday

Christians celebrate Easter Sunday, also called Pascha. But what makes Easter so special is that Christians believe, Jesus died for their sin on the Cross on Good Friday. Jesus was buried on Friday and rose from death on Sunday as Jesus had predicted this Himself. Christians believe only Jesus can give eternal life, because He overcame death.

Many churches prepare special Easter programs about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is associated with colored eggs and Easter rabbits. At home parents colour Easter eggs, and parents hid the brightly colored holiday symbols around the house and lawn so that, come Easter morning, their children can excitedly hunt for them.

Easter Eggs & Easter Bunny

For Christians, Easter eggs symbolise new life. They believe that, through his resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin and offers people the promise of eternal life if they follow his teachings. This is why there is a tradition for Christians to be baptised at Easter, which celebrates new life in God.

However, the festival of Easter stretches back to pre-Christian times, too. It gets its name and some symbols, including the Easter Bunny, from the Pagan Spring Equinox festival, which is a celebration of Spring and also of new life - the hare and the rabbit were the most fertile animals known.

The Story of Jesus' Death

Jesus' death was by public execution on a cross. The government said it was for blasphemy. Jesus said it was to pay for our sin. After being severely tortured, Jesus' wrists and feet were nailed to a cross where He hung, eventually dying of slow suffocation. A sword was thrust into His side to confirm His death.

The body of Jesus was then wrapped in linens covered with approximately 100 pounds of gummy-wet spices. His body was placed in a solid rock tomb. A 1 1/2 - 2 ton boulder was rolled by levers to secure the entrance. Because Jesus had publicly said He would rise from the dead in three days, a guard of trained Roman soldiers was stationed at the tomb. And an official Roman seal was affixed to the tomb entrance declaring it government property. In spite of all this, three days later the body was gone. Only the grave linens remained, in the form of the body, but caved in. The boulder formerly sealing the tomb was found up a slope, some distance away from the tombs.

Crucifixion

Crucifixion is the process where a person is nailed or bound to a cross or a stake. No vital organs were damaged, & death was slow agony. Prior to crucifixion, the victim was scourged and made to carry the crossbar to the execution site.

It was first used by the Persians and later by the Egyptians, Carthaginians, and Romans as a form of capital punishment from about 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. Alexander the Great introduced it to the Mediterranean area and the Romans perfected it as a means of capital punishment.

INRI

The letters "INRI" are initials for the Latin title that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross ( John 19:19 ). Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.

The words were "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm." Latin uses "I" instead of the English "J", and "V" instead of "U" (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is "Jesus of Nazareth , the King of the Jews."

Pontius Pilate was probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, & called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave."