The Customs of Easter

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day thought by many to be the day that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world.

This death of this innocent man, the Son of God, is considered so horrendous that many superstitions have arisen over the years concerning things done on Good Friday. On Good Friday miners would refuse to work fearing that a disaster would occur during the following year. Blacksmiths would not work with nails because of the nails that pierced Christ's hands and feet. Fishermen considered it an ill-omen to put out to sea on Good Friday. Clothes would not be washed on Good Friday lest they be stained with blood and lest misfortune come upon the wearers. Not all Good Friday superstitions were bad, however. Gardeners would plant their crops on Good Friday to ensure a good harvest. They believed that the soil is redeemed from Satan's power on Good Friday only so anything planted on that day is blessed.

At one time, in Portugal and in parts of England and Europe as well, people created a straw or wooden effigy of Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, and paraded it through town kicking it, cursing it, and deriding it. They would finally burn the effigy to show their contempt for the man who sent the Son of God to his death.

In Spain people participate in Semana Santa processions. These nightly processions begin on Palm Sunday and end on Good Friday. Representations of Christ, Mary, and the saints are paraded through the streets accompanied by barefooted penitents called Nazarenos wearing pointed black or white hoods with eye holes cut out of them. The procession ends with saetas, mournful songs, lamenting the death of Christ and the grief of His mother.