The last public holiday we had was the Chinese New Year break but with all those visiting, travelling and eating, it’s barely a ‘public holiday’ for some of us. But fret not, slaves to work, for there’s another public holiday coming your way. If you’re still unaware, it’s on Friday, 19 April 2019, and it’s none other than Good Friday!
Perhaps it may be another day off for many of us but it’s actually a meaningful day for certain groups of people.
Get your reading glasses and we will delve right into the 10 facts about Good Friday!
Meaningful for the Christians
Good Friday happens on Friday because it marks the start of the Easter weekend or Easter Sunday where most people are familiar with.
So, It’s not just a time for Easter chocolate eggs and bunnies (though that was honestly what I always look forward to as a child).
It is meaningful to the Christians because it commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion and his death on the cross.
The gist of Good Friday
Have you ever been accused? I’m sure many of us have had instances where we’re wrongly accused. Mine happens to be episodes of ‘The Missing Chocolates’ in the fridge ever since it became the love of my life.
But really, back to the story, Jesus was accused of blasphemy after calling himself the son of God. Which is weird because that is really who he is.
The lengthy story of Jesus’ accusation
So this poor man was betrayed by one of his twelve apostles, named Judas Iscariot, and handed to the Jewish elders who sentenced him to death.
Jesus was stripped naked and a crown full of thorns was placed on his head. They whipped him mercilessly and nailed him to the cross.
He hung there for around six hours, with writings engraved above his head that read: “The King of the Jews” because the people at that time already knew what sarcasm was.
After his death, Jesus was placed in a tomb. End of the account.
Nah, of course, it’s not the end of the story. This is what gives the Christians hope because…
He arose on “the third day” and thus the Christians celebrate this on Easter Sunday!
In short, it is the fulfilled prophecy of the savior (Jesus Christ) who would be persecuted, die for the sins of mankind, and rise on the third day.
Reenactment of the crucifixion
We’re not kidding when we say that some Christian congregations around the world reenact the crucifixion on Good Friday.
In the Philippines itself, some devotees are actually nailed to crosses each year. The Catholic Church has expressed complete disapproval of the ritual, but it’s still ongoing in many other countries, including the U.S. – Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida, among other states.
Don’t ask me why. There’s a reason why they are called “devotees” for a reason.
What’s the link between Easter and bunnies?
Ah, it’s about time we address this.
If you’ve read through the first 5 points, it’s kind of hard to make a connection between the history of Easter, Jesus, and bunnies right? How we like to say… it’s like “no link” leh.
That’s why I’m here to explain the link to you.
There are several reasons why bunnies, or hares, are associated with Easter. But one that makes the most sense is this – the hare’s fertility.
A female rabbit can have a litter of between one and 14 baby bunnies during each pregnancy and can become pregnant again, if left with an unaltered male, less than 24 hours after giving birth.
It’s like a bunny-making factory.
Anyway, we all know that Easter comes during the spring season right? The spring season is also known to be associated with a period full of transformations. The flowers and leaves that wilted during winter are slowly coming back life and budding into lush, green, picture-perfect plants.
As we flock to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and more to catch a glimpse of cherry blossoms, it’s really about celebrating new life being brought back in this season.
Bring the two concepts together and you will get the Christian meaning of rejoicing new life through the resurrection of Christ. So apart from welcoming back flora and fauna, we are also welcoming back new offsprings, like that of the baby bunnies.
Then… the link between Easter and eggs?
“Bunnies don’t lay eggs what. They give birth to young. So… no link also leh?”
Have, got link. Here’s the explanation.
Many ancient cultures view eggs as a symbol of life. Just look at the Chinese who give out red eggs during a baby’s first full month. Similar to Western easter eggs, in Chinese culture, eggs symbolize birth or a new start.
If you think about it, Jesus who came alive on the third day represents a new beginning and thus its relation to bunnies (who gives birth rapidly) and eggs (a symbol of life).
How does chocolate fit in?
After deciphering the link between Easter, bunnies, and eggs, it’s time to look into why chocolates or sweets are introduced in this special season.
It’s all about lent. Lent is not just the past and past participle of lend. It is a season celebrated by the Catholics and some Protestant churches. In short, it’s a 40-day period of fasting and contemplation for Christians.
The 40-day-period is modeled after Christ’s forty day fast in the desert as written in the Bible.
So what happens after a fast? You go for a feast, of course! A feast of sweet treats like chocolates as part of the celebration should not come as a surprise.
No meat day
Don’t be alarmed if you see Catholics abstaining from meat during Lent and on Good Friday. The Catholic law of abstinence dictates that Catholics aged 14 and older refrain from meat altogether.
Be a good friend that you are and save that Korean BBQ date for another day!
These things are banned
Laughing, dancing, and drinking alcohol.
In Germany, comedic theatre performances and public dancing are illegal on Good Friday. I guess families do watch comedy shows on TV, but many TV channels will only show religious programmes on that day.
While in Ireland, alcohol is not allowed to be sold on Good Friday, governed by the law. In 1962, the Intoxicating Liquor Act introduced “area exemption orders” to allow the sale of alcohol for special events, but all pubs and many restaurants are to remain closed.
More about Good Friday
If you’re interested to learn more about Good Friday, you can also attend a Good Friday Church service. Just google “Good Friday Church Services Singapore” and you will get a few names popping up.
Just note that Christians and Catholics observe Good Friday slightly differently. So keep an open heart & mind and you will be fine.
Enjoy this day regardless of your race, language or religion (‘coz it’s essentially a public holiday)! Blessed Easter. 🙂
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