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4 Traditional Ways to Observe Good Friday at Home

Eat hot cross buns, make a delicious fish dish, pray the Stations of the Cross and be part of a special Day of Prayer.

Hot Cross Buns; Shutterstock

It’s the holiest day of the year. But for the second year in a row, Good Friday— and the rest of Holy Week—are happening under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic. So, while your church’s procession or service may not be happening this year, there are plenty of ways you can strengthen your faith and enjoy some family time (and delicious treats) while observing this important day. Read on for some simple solutions.

Prepare Traditional Foods.  Good Friday is traditionally a day of fasting; many people eat one small, meat-free meal and two smaller snacks. Hot Cross Buns, a lightly-spiced sweet bun with raisins, marked with an icing cross, have long been the traditional Good Friday breakfast. The origins of this custom are not completely clear, although it is believed that a 12th century Anglican monk first baked the buns in honor of the crucifixion. In 16th Century England, Queen Elizabeth I passed a short-lived law limiting the sale of sweet buns to funerals, Christmas and the Friday before Easter. Superstitions abounded, including that buns baked on Good Friday would never go stale and that they could be used for medicinal purposes.  Don’t forget to buy or make enough to enjoy these sweet treats on Easter morning too.

It’s the final fasting Friday of Lent—the perfect day to upgrade your weekly fish dish. Why not try something new? We recommend Baked Lemon Cod and Broccoli  or Joy Bauer’s recipe for Baked Tilapia with Spicy Tomato-Pineapple Relish.

Go for a Walk. Throughout the world many people mark this Holy Day by joining a procession through the streets. Frequently, participants dress as Jesus or other Biblical characters and volunteers take turns carrying a large cross. The walk commemorates Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha where he was crucified. While some churches or communities will be holding socially-distant walks and processions this year, you can also walk on your own or with your family. It is an ideal time to contemplate Jesus’ suffering and remind yourself of His ultimate sacrifice.

Observe three hours of silence.  The most sacred hours of this day occur between noon and 3:00 pm to honor the time when Christ was on the cross. Turn off all devices—you can do it!—including phones and TVs and immerse yourself in silence. Pray—one option is to pray the Stations of the Cross; read the Bible and encourage children to draw religious pictures. You may want to write a letter to Jesus thanking him for everything he has done for you.

Attend Guideposts 50th annual Good Friday Day of Prayer. For half a century the Guideposts staff has come together for a day of fellowship and to pray for thousands of prayer requests received from every corner of the country. This year, the program is remote, but it features a powerful lineup, including pastor and best-selling author Mark Batterson. Don’t miss it at 1:00 pm EST on Friday, April 2, on OurPrayer Facebook.

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