On Good Friday in Australia, it is a public holiday. Schools and non retail businesses are closed. Many go to church. Others choose to just enjoy a sleep in and a lazy day. It's tradition for even non religious people to have fish or seafood, so the fish n chip shops and seafood markets are frantically busy. The latter is especially true in Sydney. Yesterday I cooked pleasant enough flavoured fish sachets at home. I didn't feel like queuing up. We went to church in the afternoon, below are some photos I took, of a typical Catholic Good Friday church service. For those that don't know what Good Friday refers to, read my previous post, St Peter part 7.
Red is the liturgical colour. The church is bare of flowers.
These "stations of the cross" , below, are up all year in all Catholic Churches. People can meditate in front of them if they want, it's less common nowadays in many churches. Some towns and suburbs have different denominations combine to do a "stations of the Cross " in a park or on the streets, on Good Friday.
People think we pray "to " statues, and think they can grant our wish. That's not church policy. We can pray and ask them to ask God for our request, as the saints are supposed to be in Heaven, but they can't grant them themselves. It's kind of like going to your Member of Parliament and asking him/her to intercede in a matter. Different cultures have more or less statues according to their own cultural tradition. Praying in front of an object can hone the concentration. If I have nothing specific to focus my eyes on , my mind wanders onto everyday mundane matters.
Good Friday and Easter Saturday are the only two days of the year where there are no flowers.
THE GOOD FRIDAY CEREMONY is unique to that day. It has a solemn feeling. Music isn't joyful. There is a "reading " of the torture and killing of Jesus Christ, which is long, so presumably to stop people nodding off, different parishioners take parts of people from the bible story. They are not acted out at this church but read out. Yesterday, each character took a scarf off the cross when they were finished. This seems to be a new practice and I don't know what it means. When I walked into the church, with my bad vision, I thought it was a giant priest. I also said well that explains why there are no crows flying around, so my family told me to shhh.
This bit is an ancient tradition, on Good Friday only, where a large crucifix is carried by the priest and altar servers from the back of the church to the front, and people can show respect by touching or kissing it. On the way up the aisle, parts of it are uncovered , with singing, until it is bare at the front steps.
Then we went home to relax and had our fish dinner , my family watched a DVD of Tarzan Greystokes, while I played on iPad.
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