Many Christians around the world observe Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion and death, which is told in the Bible.
As early as the first century, the Church set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. It was not until the fourth century, however, that the Church began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ.
First called Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church, the name "Good Friday" was adopted by the Roman Church around the sixth or seventh century.
Good Friday is celebrated traditionally as the day on which Jesus was crucified. Roman Catholics treat Good Friday as a fast day, which is understood as having only one full meal, smaller than a regular meal - often substituting meat with fish.
The Eucharist, Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful in the Service of the Passion of the Lord.
In Roman Catholic churches, the altar, which was stripped at the end of Holy Thursday Mass yesterday, remains completely bare, without cross, candlesticks or altar cloths. Traditionally, no bells are rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.
The celebrations of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o'clock.
The vestments used are red or black The liturgy consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.
In addition to the prescribed liturgical service, the Stations of the Cross are often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service may be held from midday to 3 pm., known as the Three Hours' Agony.
The most popular Stations of the Cross are done on the road to the San Fernando Hill in South Trinidad and along Calvary Road in San Juan.
In many Christian churches members celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually in the evening, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes, and observance of the Lord's Supper.
HOT CROSS BUNS
Hot cross buns is a traditional Good Friday Bread here in Trinidad and Tobago. These sweet spiced buns made with currants or raisins are very popular around this time. At the top of the buns there is always a cross marked on top or made with icing.
The origins of hot cross buns dates back centuries ago. Many Christians today see hot cross buns as an imitation of the unleavened bread eaten during Passover. The Christian church reinterpreted the icing cross as a symbol of the crucifixion.
The popularity of the hot cross buns grew when a monk named Father Thomas Rockcliffe began the tradition of giving hot cross buns to the poor of St. Albans, England, in 1361. The Protestants considered this a Catholic tradition and attempted to stop the practice.
However, the traditon was further solidified when Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them only on festivals such as Easter and Christmas. So by 1733, the popular hot cross buns had its own song that could be heard by street vendors selling hot cross buns: “Hot cross buns! hot cross buns! one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.”
An old tradition the beating of the Bobolee. The origin of the word “bobolee” has become obscured with time but the actual word is still widely used. A bobolee is an effigy of Judas Iscariot made from old clothes stuffed with rags or dried grass. It is placed in a public place on Good Friday and anyone who passes is welcomed to “beat the bobolee” with sticks, kicks or slaps. The beating originally symbolised retribution for Judas for betraying Christ.
With time the bobolee has also come to symbolise anything that is unpopular whether it is inflation or unpopular politicians. One would think that only children would “beat the bobolee” but adults are often immersed in the fun. The actual word “bobolee” has now become such a part of Trinidad culture that it is used to describe any individual who is taken advantage of by others or who has received a severe beating. Finding a bobolee on Good Friday was once very easy as they were erected in every community. In recent times, it has become more difficult to find a bobolee in the city areas but in the country districts you can still see them on Good Friday morning. The ones that are well constructed often surviving the beating and lasting into the evening.
Gloria Saturday or Holy Saturday
Is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week, in which Christians prepare for Easter. This day commemorates the day that Jesus Christ's body lay in the tomb.
Throughout Trinidad and Tobago Roman Catholic churches the sanctuary remains stripped completely bare following the Mass on Maundy Thursday and administration of the sacraments is severely limited. Holy Communion Is given only as Viaticum to the dying. All Masses are strictly prohibited.
However in Anglican, Methodist, and some other Protestant churches there may be similar observances. However, their altars may be covered in black instead of being stripped. In addition, in the Anglican churches provision is made for a simple Liturgy of the Word, with readings commemorating the burial of Christ, but no Eucharist.
Gloria Saturday lasts until sunset, after which the Easter Vigil is celebrated, marking the official start of the Easter season. In Roman Catholic observance, during the “Gloria” of the Mass (which is the first Mass since that of Holy Thursday), the church statues, which had been covered with purple, are dramatically unveiled.
During this service people (especially children) are baptised and adult catechumens are received into full communion in the Roman Catholic church. It is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Day—most commonly in the evening of Gloria Saturday—but is considered to be the first celebration of Easter Day.
In the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, the Easter Vigil is the most important Mass of the liturgical year as well as the first celebration of the Eucharist during the fifty-day long celebration of Easter.