Sunday, September 30, 2012

German Traditions and Recipes for Easter - Part 2: Good Friday

This is part two of my little series about Easter in Germany, in which I would like to draw your attention to Good Friday.
Good Friday is called "Karfreitag" in German.
The word "Kar" is a very old German word which means something like "waling". Other than the word "grein"(whining or crying in English) from which the German name "Gr√ľndonnerstag" for Holy Thursday is derived, the word "Kar" is completely forgotten in modern German language and not used at all anymore.
"Grein" is also hardly ever used anymore by most Germans, but you may find it here and there, when older people are using it, in Poetry, or in Song texts.
In many protestant regions in Germany, Good Friday is actually called "Guter Freitag", which directly translates into "Good Friday".
This is so because one of Martin Luthers doctrines was, that because Jesus, through his physical death freed us from sin and gave us the opportunity for everlasting life and therefore the day Jesus did this for us, is a good day and should be called as such.
Like in most predominantly Christian countries, Karfreitag or Holy Friday is a day where people are contemplative and reflective.
Pubs and Nightclubs are either closed that day or are not playing any music. Shops are closed and people are only doing as much work as is absolutely necessary.
Children are being asked to play quietly, just for this one day of the year.
I am personally not a very religious person, yet I would call Good Friday one of my favourite Holidays, as I very much appreciate the quietness and sense of tranquility that is in the air, especially in rural areas. We don't get to many breaks from our rather hectic and busy life's and Good Friday gives us the rare opportunity to take one of those much needed breaks.
At 3pm, the time Jesus allegedly died on the cross, church services are being held all across the country, in which the church organ and the church bells remain silent.
In some catholic regions the Passion of Christ is being re-enacted to a reasonable extent, similar to the big processions that we know from southern European or South American countries.

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