When is Good Friday this year? 2023 dates and a peek into the history of Holy Week.

Come springtime, families all over the world celebrate Easter. For some Christians, it’s a traditional religious observation with mass and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For others, it’s a secular holiday of Easter bunnies and eggs.

But there’s much more to the season than the Sunday holiday. Christians celebrate an entire period of Lent and a week of religious observation leading up to Easter.

Wondering when Good Friday is? Here are important dates to keep in mind this year, plus a history lesson on why some celebrate.

Faithfuls carry a wooden cross as part of Easter celebrations in Paris on Good Friday 2022.
Faithfuls carry a wooden cross as part of Easter celebrations in Paris on Good Friday 2022.

When is Good Friday 2023?

Good Friday is Friday, April 7 this year, the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Good Friday is a holy day for Christians and is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday and Black Friday, though we’re not talking about the post-Thanksgiving shopping day.

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History of Good Friday

Good Friday comes after Lent ends. The Lenten season is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and self-discipline for Christians ending on the evening of Holy Thursday.

Here are the important dates of the Lenten season and Holy Week for Christians:

  • Ash Wednesday (Lent begins): February 22, 2023

  • Palm Sunday: April 2, 2023

  • Holy Thursday: April 6, 2023

  • Good Friday: April 7, 2023

  • Easter Sunday: April 9, 2023

  • Easter Monday (a continuation of the Easter celebration, for some denominations): April 10, 2023

According to the Christian faith, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. Just days later, Christians celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead on Easter Sunday.

But why name a day of death and suffering “Good” Friday? Christianity.com says it may have come from an older name, “God’s Friday,” or because the tragedy of the day led to the goodness of Easter.

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Many Christians fast or abstain from eating meat on Good Friday because “Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us on Good Friday,” says the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Some even refrain from meat-eating on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and every Friday in Lent.

Hot cross buns, made of milk, butter, spices and decorated with the symbolic Christian cross, are a popular Good Friday treat.

Because Good Friday is one of the more somber Christian holidays, many Christians attend church services, take off of work or simply have a quiet, reflective day.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Good Friday 2023: What the holy holiday means and when it is this year