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Good Friday

From Rocklamd, Maine. Perer Orne comments: "Today's Courier-Gazette (4/19/03), hometown newspaper to Rockland, Maine (pop. ~8,000) since 1846, and serving the adjacent village of Thomaston, offers two photos of religious worshippers -- though still no mention of Good Friday: Judeo-Christian traditions converge Thursday evening, with a second-night Passover at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue and the observance of Maundy Thursday at area churches. ... At bottom, the Rev. Peter Edwards-Jenks serves Holy Communion to worshipers at the Episcopal church of St. John Baptist in Thomaston. Maundy Thursday recalls Christ s last supper with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. I asked my mother, Rockland resident, why exactly Good Friday is called good . She says,"I don t know, isn t that terrible? You re the one who went to church [from 1975 to 1983], you should know".

RH: More appropriately, Catholics call it Holy Friday. In my vain search for an explanation, I came across all kinds of Fridays (Black Friday, etc.). As for Good Friday, one explanation is to be found, dated 1305, in Stubbs Chron. Edw. I & II (Rolls) I. 136 "Die qui dicebatur bonus dies Veneris". "The Day of Venus"? That doesn't make sense unless there is a very unusual case of syncretism. I wonder if it is a corruption of God Friday? Maundy" is equally puzzling: . Originally (more fully Maundy ceremony): the ceremony of washing the feet of a number of poor people, performed by royal or other eminent people, or by ecclesiastics, on the Thursday before Easter (see MAUNDY THURSDAY n.), and commonly followed by the distribution of clothing, food, or money (now hist.); also in extended use. Later (also Royal Maundy): the distribution of gifts of money to a number of chosen recipients by the British sovereign on Maundy Thursday. The word comes from "Mandatum", the first word of the Latin prayer for the day. Was Good Friday a non-event in your local newspaper?

Ronald Hilton - 4/19/03