History & Origin of Good Friday
Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert, before He began His preaching. Thereafter, He taught the need of prayer and fasting to overcome the Evil One. Good Friday marks the end of the 40-day period of fasting and renunciation during Lent, which recalls the days Jesus spent in the desert. After this period, Jesus returned to Jerusalem, and was welcomed as the King of the Jews. The wholehearted acceptance of Jesus by the people made the rulers fear that they would lose the people’s loyalty, and prompted them to plot against Him.
With the help of Judas, who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, Jesus was arrested for treason and condemned to be crucified. This happened on Maundy Thursday, a day before Good Friday. The next day (which is now known as Good Friday) became the darkest day in Christianity. On this very day, Jesus was made to carry the cross, on which he was later crucified as well. Jesus, by his act of forgiving and praying for even those responsible for his death, won a victory for good over evil.
The Roman Catholic Church observes Good Friday with several long-standing traditions today. It is a day of fasting and the altars of the churches are made without candles. The Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion also takes place on this day. The practice of austerities has always been considered important in Christian spirituality and this is especially followed on Good Friday, since it is a day of mourning, a day on which Jesus sacrificed his life for the sake of humanity.