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Three crosses on top of a hill

Good Friday 2025: Your questions answered

For a day that is dedicated to the death of Jesus Christ, Good Friday has a surprisingly positive name. But here we answer all of your questions about the Christian day of celebration, including where its name originated from.


What is Good Friday?

Good Friday is a large part of the Christian festival of Easter. On the day, Christians throughout the world commemorate the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross and mourn his passing, whilst reflecting on the sacrifice they believe he made for our sins.

Christians then celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, three inclusive days after his crucifixion.

When is Good Friday 2025?

This year, Good Friday falls on 18th April 2025, with Easter Sunday on 20th April 2025.

Is Good Friday a bank holiday?

Yes, like many other countries around the world, Good Friday is a public holiday in the UK.

Is Good Friday on the same day every year?

No. Just like Easter Sunday, Good Friday is what is known as a ‘moveable feast’, meaning that its observance in the Christian calendar is changeable every year.

Why is Easter Sunday on different days every year?

The date of Easter varies each year due to the fact it’s set by the lunisolar calendar, which was created in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC.

The lunisolar calendar is comprised of lunar months that have been adjusted to fit into solar years. Easter is determined by the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring equinox. This means that it always falls sometime between 22nd March and 25th April.

Why is it called Good Friday?

Given the connection the day has with the death of Jesus Christ and the subsequent mourning, it seems strange that it’s called ‘Good Friday’. However, it’s all linked to the etymology of ‘good’, as it no longer means what it used to.

In Old English, the word meant that something was holy or special. Therefore, Good Friday actually means ‘Holy Friday’.

Christians have also attributed other reasons as to why the word ‘good’ is used. For example, the good about the day is not to do with Jesus’ death, but rather the forgiveness of all our sins.

Why do Christians celebrate Good Friday?

Good Friday was the precursor to Jesus’ conquering of death via his resurrection. Therefore, the day marks the beginning of one of the greatest miracles in the Bible.

The story of Jesus’ crucifixion is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. According to the Gospels, Jesus came to Jerusalem a few days before Good Friday. Many people were excited by his arrival having heard of the amazing miracles he had performed. They gathered to welcome him, declaring that he was the King of the Jews and the Son of God.

At that time, Jerusalem was under Roman control and not everyone was happy with Jesus’ arrival.

Jesus sat down with his disciples the day before Good Friday and they enjoyed a meal together that came to be known as the Last Supper. During the meal, Jesus declared that one of his followers would betray him to the Romans. That person turned out to be Judas, who had revealed Jesus’ location to the Roman soldiers.

Jesus was arrested on the morning of Good Friday and put on trial for claiming to be the King of the Jews. At first, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate was reluctant to sentence Jesus for his crimes. However, fearing reprisals from Jewish leadership, who believed Jesus was guilty of the very serious religious offence of blasphemy, Pilate sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.

Beaten, forced to wear a crown of thorns and given the burden of carrying a heavy wooden cross on his back, Jesus was paraded through streets of jeering crowds. He was then nailed to the cross by his hands and feet. After spending six hours on the cross, Jesus died at 3pm on Good Friday. After he had exhaled his last breath, the scriptures state an earthquake shook the lands.

How is Good Friday celebrated?

As Christianity swept across Europe, a process which began during the 4th century AD, it absorbed several pagan festivals into the Christian faith. This means that many of the traditions we celebrate today are rooted in themes dating back thousands of years.

It's no coincidence that Easter falls during Spring, a time symbolic of resurrection and new life, a combination of Christian ideals surrounding Jesus' death and pagan beliefs surrounding the land and seasons.

Today, Good Friday is marked up and down the country with church services recounting Jesus’ crucifixion and reflecting on the significance of that event.

For Christians, it’s a day of mournful reflection on the sacrifices Jesus made for us. Some even practice fasting as a sign of sorrow or to cleanse their bodies in preparation for receiving the Holy Spirit. The fasting is also an act of honouring Jesus' suffering on the cross.

Why do we eat hot cross buns on Good Friday?

It’s traditional to eat hot cross buns during Easter, especially on Good Friday. The cross on the buns is said to represent the cross on which Jesus was crucified. However, once again, the history of this tradition lies in paganism.

The Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring was Eostre. It’s believed that we have her to thank for the word ‘Easter’ and even the tasty hot cross bun. One of the ways the Anglo-Saxons worshipped Eostre was by offering her a bun marked with a cross. However, the symbolism of the cross was different to today. The cross split the bun into four quarters, one for each of the seasons and one for each of the four primary phases of the moon.

The Christianisation of Europe saw this tradition absorbed and adapted to fit with new ideals.