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Good Friday. What’s it all about?
April 14 is the next public holiday in Singapore, and for Christians here it is much more than a day off work. Good Friday is the most important day in their religious calendar.
Christians in Singapore
With around 18 per cent of Singaporeans describing themselves as Christians, Good Friday is a significant day for many people in the Lion City.
“The single largest religious group in Singapore is Buddhist, and Christianity comes in second at a distant 18 percent.” publicholidays.sg
So what is Good Friday all about?
It is the day when this faith community commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God, and whose life and teachings are the foundation of the faith.
According to the Bible, the Son of God was whipped, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death on Good Friday.
It is also the Friday before Easter Sunday, the day Christians believe Jesus was resurrected.
Day of mourning and reflection
This Friday is a day of mourning for Christians - when they reflect on Jesus’ suffering on the cross and that Jesus died for them, to save them from their sins.
Christians usually attend a service in church on Good Friday and may hold Good Friday processions, re-enactments of the Crucifixion, Passion Plays and Stations of the Cross. It’s believed that Jesus died at 3pm and, if Christians are not in church at this time, they may stop what they are doing and pray.
Some Christians fast on Good Friday or refrain from eating meat (as with every Friday during the 40 days of Lent) as an act of penitence and spiritual self-discipline. Some only eat fish, which must be boiled, not battered or fried.
Services in Singapore
Last year about 1,000 worshippers gathered at the Church of the Risen Christ in Toa Payoh for an afternoon service and later a candlelit procession commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
A 191-year-old life-size wooden statue of Christ was carried around the church and, as is customary, the congregation kissed the feet of Christ, said prayers and recreated the scene from the Bible when Christ was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb after his crucifixion.
Why is it called Good Friday?
There’s some debate over why this day is called Good when it is such a sad day for Christians.
Some think it simply means pious or holy, while others say it has just been changed from "God Friday".
According to Fiona MacPherson, Senior Editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, the “adjective designates a day on which religious observance is held. The word “good" in this context refers to "a day or season observed as holy by the church.” bbc.com/news
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