For Christians around the world, this is a holy week which precedes Easter Sunday. Activities include revisiting Jesus’ crucifixion, recalling the last supper and processions on Good Friday. It is the day when Lord Jesus was flogged and asked to carry the cross on which he would be crucified. He was nailed to the cross and put to death, and this is why a cross is used as a symbol of the Christian faith. The day is observed on the Friday before the Easter Sunday. Good Friday is observed differently in different regions. Here are some of the extreme Good Friday observations around the world.
Mexico: A dramatic representation of Christ’s crucifixion and death is performed by the residents of Iztapalapa. The performance is sponsored by the area government and has been termed as the ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by the UNESCO. Around 4,000 actors re-enact Christ’s walk to his death on Calvary. The one who portrays Jesus wears a crown of thorns and carries a 200-pound cross.
South Africa: Christians in South Africa observe the day by participating in a large mass on Good Friday at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. The stadium is built in 1928 and can hold up to 62,000 people.
London: The realistic interpretation of Jesus’ death at the Trafalgar Square involves over 100 people from the Wintershall Players and animals like horses and donkeys. The 90-minute performance begins at noon and ends at 3:15 pm. There are big screens installed so that everyone watches the event.
India: Good Friday is an official public holiday for Central and State government all over India. Stock markets remain closed. Christians in India participate in parade and activities organised by churches.
Germany: Theatre performances and public dances are prohibited. Religious programmes are telecasted on TV channels.
England/North Ireland/Scotland: An official public holiday is declared on Good Friday. Horse Racing is prohibited on the day.
Ireland: Though it is not an official or public holiday, banks and public institutions remains closed. It is prohibited to sell alcohol on this day.
Philippines: In Pampanga, a two-hour street play is organised where participants are actually nailed to a cross. As many as 12 individuals are nailed to the cross on a makeshift Calvary, while others flog themselves with bamboo sticks.
United States: Stock market remains closed. While all government offices, private business, and institutions are opened.
Peru: People in Peru observe the day by covering the streets with carpets of flowers. In Magdalena, statues of Jesus Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows are carried through the streets in a procession. Participants prick each other with needles and thorns to feel the pain Jesus went through.
Romania: A table with Epitaphios, a piece of fabric that depicts the burial of Jesus Christ, is placed in front of the Cross in church. Devotees bring flowers for Jesus and pass under the table three times. A process is also organised in the evening.