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Easter Weekend: What is Good Friday?
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29 Mar 2013 08:51 AM EST

-by Trista McKenzie, Contributing Writer; Image: A Good Friday service in Ireland (O’Dea / Wikimedia Commons)

As Easter approaches, many people who follow Christian religions are celebrating Good Friday today as part of Holy Week, the final stretch of the Lenten season.

Easter marks the day that, according to the Bible’s New Testament, Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion. The season is celebrated as a form of rebirth, which is quite fitting as it also falls in the early weeks of the spring.

Many devout Catholics, as well as members of other Christian groups, give up something of value to them for the 40 days of Lent. Others fast or refrain from eating meat on Fridays throughout the season.

Good Friday is especially a day of mourning and fasting for the Catholic Church, as according to the scriptures, it marks the observance of the day when Jesus died on the cross. While predominantly known as Good Friday, the day can also be known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday (not to be confused with the retail term for the day following Thanksgiving) or possibly Easter Friday—though Easter Friday could also refer to the Friday following Easter.

In predominantly Catholic countries, most businesses close for the day as part of the three-day Easter weekend.

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