Good Friday is almost here, and millions will be looking forward to a long weekend.
What is Good Friday?
Good Friday commemorates The Passion – the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary – before his resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday.
Although the precise date of Christ’s death is a source of much debate, biblical scholars tend to be in agreement that it came on a Friday on or near Passover, between 30-33AD.
According to the Bible, Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples on what is now marked as Maundy Thursday.
He was then betrayed by his follower Judas Iscariot, who revealed his location to Roman soldiers in return for 30 pieces of silver.
The Bible says that on Good Friday it took Jesus six hours to die on the cross at Calvary, outside Jerusalem, ending his life with the famous words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
His death is thought to have been commemorated by Christians as part of Easter’s Holy Week at least as far back as the fourth century.
The term “Good Friday”’ appears to have first been recorded around the late 13th century. There is dispute over the origins of the label, with some experts suggesting that it is a corruption of “God’s Friday” and other arguing that the adjective “good” is simply used to denote any holy day observed by the church.
Is Good Friday a bank holiday?
Good Friday was historically a common-law holiday in the UK, and so didn’t require to be officially denoted as a bank holiday with the introduction of the Bank Holidays Act in 1871.
It remains one in all but name, however – which means schools will be closed and many businesses will shut or operate reduced opening hours.
Good Friday always falls two days before Easter Sunday, which means in 2023 the holiday is on Friday 7 April.
There is then another bank holiday on Monday 10 April to mark Easter Monday, meaning many people will get a four-day weekend.
Good Friday’s position in the calendar changes from year to year, with the holiday potentially marked at any time between 20 March and 23 April. This year’s observance is just over a week earlier than in 2022.
It coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover, which this year runs from Wednesday 5 April until Thursday 13 April.
Will there be post?
This depends on where you are in the UK. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there will be no collections or deliveries on Good Friday or Easter Monday.
However, for those in Scotland there will be normal collections and deliveries this day. There are none on Easter Monday though.
Post offices will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. You can find out more here.