The day that would become Good Friday was initially set aside by the Christian church during the fourth century to commemorate the death of Jesus. The "Good Friday" label was adopted by the Roman Catholics somewhat later and has persisted today.
Historically, Good Friday was a fairly somber occasion. Clergy wore black and did not light the usual candles so that the altar was bare. The solemn nature of the service was supposed to reflect grief over Jesus' death.
In much of the U.S., things are quite different today. While some churches still hold special Good Friday services, the date has become quite secularized. It is not a federal holiday, but is recognized in some states (I'm off work today), and most people seem to treat it as something of a celebration. It gives those who are traveling this weekend to visit family for Easter an opportunity to get a head start on their travels, as well as an extended weekend.
Many Christians today seem to approach Good Friday with joy rather than the solemn traditions of their ancestors. Those I have asked about this have explained that they are celebrating God's gift to them in the form of sending Jesus to die for their sins. So in this way, Good Friday has come to resemble a celebration of Jesus' death rather than a period of mourning.
With this in mind, I wish you and yours a happy Dead Jesus Day. Zombie Jesus Day is around the corner, so finish your preparations before it is too late.
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