Good Friday

Today is one of the most significant days in our religion and on our islands. Good Friday isn’t just when we remember the day Jesus was crucified; it’s also a public holiday on the islands and every business activity shuts down for the day, even shops that normally open throughout the year. No newspapers are printed and the streets are unusually quiet, at least on the smaller island.

Come 3pm, however, people start flocking to their churches to take part in the special service that is held around the islands. Then, everyone takes to the streets to follow or watch the annual procession that takes place in most villages. My husband and I always wonder what these processions must look like to the¬†uninitiated. If you’ve never witnessed one of these processions, you might be shocked by the hooded men dragging chains tied to their bare ankles. Or the various actors impersonating the main characters from the story of the crucifixion.

I am not of a fan of such processions and have never taken Maia to see them, simply because I wouldn’t know how to explain to her all the symbolism going on there. You should know that she’s easily scared, refusing to watch Disney films (except for Tangled) because the the baddie in each film gives her nightmares. She certainly doesn’t take after me…I used to read horror books at her age (until my parents found the secret stash of library books and made me return them). Instead, we’ll be joining my choir during the church service, something we both enjoy.

Do you celebrate Good Friday? If you do, how do you celebrate? Do you fast? Do you go to church? Do you keep noise to a minimum, like we used to when we were still children? I’m curious to know.

This photo is from a series that my husband had taken some time ago during a Good Friday procession. How would you explain this to your child?!
These photos are from a series that my husband had taken some time ago during a Good Friday procession. How would you explain this to your child?!
To a tourist, it might look like the Ku Klux Klan descends on our islands on this day...
To a tourist, it might look like the Ku Klux Klan descends on our islands on this day…

Photos by George Saguna. Please do not reproduce these photos without written permission. To view the rest of the series, click on each of the photos and you will be redirected to the original posts.

 

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2 Comments

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  1. I rarely went to the processions when I lived in Malta but wish to take my boyfriend at some point to show him the grandeur of it all, although I’m sure he will not understand why we do it.

    Today for me is a normal business day, worse than usual because all these holidays messed up our systems and I’ve already spent a few hours trying to fix the issues. In the Netherlands Easter is celebrated as well with first Easter Day (Sunday) and Second Easter day (Monday) also a holiday. We will celebrate Easter with a family lunch at my place. We don’t really plan anything yearly though.

  2. I do not celebrate Good Friday but I don’t think it’s as big of a deal here in the states. The only thing I’ve ever heard of people doing here is not eating meat that day. The only Easter tradition I observe is the Easter Bunny and I cook something springy.

    I think the procession looks magical and very mysterious and I love things like that. It looks grim but for me that adds to the intrigue. I would love to see it but I wouldn’t take Abby until she is older. Definitely too hard to explain.

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