Why is ‘Good Friday’ called ‘good’ Friday? This is an intriguing question without any particular answer. There are many theories put forth to explain the reason. When summed up, three cardinal theories are found to be meaningful and, in this article, we are going to discuss those theories.
This is the date when Jesus Christ was crucified. So typically, this should be mourned and it is rather a ‘Sad’ Friday. But our first theory deals with this crucifixion only. This is the day when Jesus dies for the sins of his followers. This is the day when a mortal soul found salvation and transcended the barriers of life and death to find the true meaning of existence. This is thus the victory of goods against the evils and resurrection of Jesus to make the lives of his disciples more meaningful. Thus, it calls for celebration, merrymaking, and paying tribute to the Great Soul who sacrificed his mortal life for common ‘Good’. The very term ‘Good’ suggests salvation and victory of life over death, good against evil, virtues against sins.
The second theory is that the term has been derived from ‘God’s Friday’. To immortalize Jesus, this day was marked as His day, the day of the God of Christianity, the day of the pinnacle of human existence. This theory was first found in the Catholic Encyclopedia first published in 1909. Even Wikipedia has shown lenience to this theory. However, there is no concrete evidence or logic to support the view. As per this theory, the German term for ‘Good Friday’ should be ‘Gottes Freitag’ but in reality, the term is ‘Karfreitag’ meaning sorrowful Friday.
The third and the most convincing theory is that etymologically the very word ‘Good’ refers to something ‘Holy’. So, it is basically a ‘Holy Friday’ or ‘Sacred Friday’. So, the propounders of this theory suggest that this antiquated meaning of the word ‘Good’ is actually the reason why this Friday is called ‘Good Friday’ signifying the sacredness of this day in Christianity. This theory has been supported by the Oxford English Dictionary as well.
Of all the theories discussed here, the first and the third look more convincing and if observed minutely there is a linkage between the two as well. So, it can be concluded that because of its sanctimonious nature, to commemorate the day of the Salvation of Jesus, this holy day is celebrated as ‘Good Friday’.