Good Friday 2020

Internationally Observed Holiday

Good Friday

When is Good Friday?

How long until Good Friday?
This holiday next takes place in 320 Days.
Dates of Good Friday
Year Weekday Date
2020 Friday
2019 Friday
2018 Friday
2017 Friday
2016 Friday
1 Day
Good Friday occurs on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Who observes Good Friday?
Countries who have a public holiday on Good Friday

​​Many countries observe Good Friday as a national holiday on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.

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.

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.

In some countries, there are special Good Friday processions, or re-enactments of the Crucifixion.

Why is it called 'Good Friday'?

At first glance, it seems a strange name for a day that marks 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 is worth noting that this confusion over the name is confined to mostly 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.

In Bermuda, it is traditional to fly kites on Good Friday. These are often handmade affairs with wooden sticks, tissue paper, glue, and string. The use of wood and the shape of the kite is intended to represent the cross, and the kite flying in the sky symbolizes his ascension to heaven.

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 leads an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome.

Good Friday around the World


Though it is not a federal holiday, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee observe a state holiday on Good Friday. Residents of these states might find that some municipal services and businesses, as well as banks, will be closed.

It is becoming a holiday that is more widely observed than some other Federal holidays with an estimated 20% of employees enjoying a holiday on Good Friday.

The stock market will close on Good Friday, meaning both NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange will not be trading.


Under the constitutional law on the Protection of Sundays and Public Holidays, Good Friday is treated as a stille Tage ('quiet holiday') in Germany.

The restrictions do vary from state to state, but the intention is to restrict any activities which 'contradict the character' of the day. This means that dancing is prohibited in many states and "All non-public entertaining events outside of homes" may be banned in some states.

Another restriction is placed on what movies can be shown in cinemas. The FSK, the German motion picture rating system, oversees a list of films that it considers unsuitable for holiday viewing. Some movies such as Robocop, Mad Max and Life of Brian are no surprise, but some seemingly innocent films such as Mary Poppins and Heidi in the Mountains make the list as they are seen to not reflect the serious nature of the day.

United Kingdom

In the UK, Lent is book-ended by pastries. The start is traditionally marked by making Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, while the end is marked by Hot Cross Buns. These sweet spiced buns with currants or raisins have a cross made from shortcrust pastry and a sticky glaze on top. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross symbolising the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

On Good Friday every year, tens of thousands of Brits gather in Trafalgar Square, London to watch an open-air passion play depicting the crucifixion. The 90-minute production is completely free of charge - a gift to Londoners and visitors.

Related Events

Translate this page