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Orthodox Good Friday
This celebration of Good Friday by the Orthodox Christian church observes the religious day according to the Julian calendar, which takes place after other religious celebrations of Easter in April or May. Also known as Holy Friday, this day marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The day is considered a solemn day of mourning, lacking any of the festive themes of the following Easter observance.
The main tradition of Orthodox Good Friday is the religious service, which includes liturgies and Gospel readings. A tradition during this service is when a table is placed in the middle of the church and observers pass underneath it, lighting a candle at the church bells signal, which cleanses the participant of sins. More serious observation features fasting, long sessions of prayer, meditation, or a Lenten lunch. Orthodox Good Friday features a strict fast, with most churches allowing for no food all day unless the observer is ill.
The Orthodox community is situated mostly in Russia, but many Orthodox Christians celebrate all over the world. Greek Orthodox Christians do not do any chores on Good Friday in order to honour the day of mourning. Flags are also flown at half-mast. Depending on their proximity, some Orthodox Christians celebrate the holiday in Jerusalem.
Many devout Orthodox parishioners do not cook on Holy Friday. If they do, traditional foods are simple and only those that can be boiled in water (not oil) and seasoned with vinegar. Beans or thin soups like tahinosoupa (a soup made with tahini) are quite common. For the modern-day Orthodox Christians observing the Orthodox Good Friday, here are a couple of great recipes to serve that also include our favourite herb – garlic! Which many of your local farmers here in Ontario can provide for you:
- Green Beans Almondine
- Potato and Tahini Soup with Spiced Lamb & Zucchini (make sure to add extra garlic!)