1460-75. Philadelphia Museum of Art Christ Crowned with Thorns. Artist unknown, Austrian
In the Christian religion, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. As early as the 1C, the Christian church set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. It was not until the 4C, however, that Christians began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ. Good Friday is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar. First called Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church, the name "Good Friday" was adopted by the Roman Church around the 6C or 7C.
There are two possible origins for the name "Good Friday". The first may have come from the Gallican Church in Gaul (modern-day France and Germany). The name "Gute Freitag" is Germanic in origin and literally means "good" or "holy" Friday. The 2nd possibility is a variation on the name "God's Friday," where the word "good" was used to replace the word "God," which was often viewed as too holy to be spoken aloud.
Good Friday rituals and traditions are somber. To many Christians, Good Friday is a day of sorrow mingled with hope, a time to grieve for mankind's failings and for the suffering of Jesus and to meditate upon the ultimate redemption of loving and of forgiving ourselves and others.