Thursday 14 December 2017

No laughing or dancing in Germany, and other Good Friday traditions around the world

No laughing or dancing in Germany; no horse racing in the UK; stoic fasts in Poland

Polish Catholic devotees re-enact the
Polish Catholic devotees re-enact the "Way of the Cross" on Good Friday as part of Holy Week celebrations near Gdansk, northern Poland

Many countries around the world close down their offices and have laws that ban certain activities on Good Friday.

  • In Germany, Laughing and Dancing are banned.

The day is referred to as "Gottes Freitag" which translates into "God's Friday".

Comedic theatre performances and public dancing are illegal on Good Friday.

Protests to overturn the dancing ban have grown in recent years, but without success.

Those caught breaking restrictions face being fined, although these rules are not always well enforced..

Many TV channels will only show religious material on the day.

Comedy ban: Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat character, pictured above

  • Horse racing was banned in the UK but history will be made today. For the first time on Good Friday horse racing is being held in the UK - at Lingfield in Surrey and Scottish track Musselburgh.
James Lambe: 'Ayr is what we're aiming for'

Even though racecourses close, betting is still allowed in the UK.

  • In Bermuda, kites - often handmade - are flown in Bermuda on Good Friday to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on, as well as his ascension into heaven. This custom dates back to the 19th century.

Kite's represent Jesus's ascension into heaven. Photo: AFP Photo/ Juan Barreto

  • Churches in countries, such as Belgium and Mexico, are draped in black on Good Friday in memory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many towns and villages. Many Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes. Egg decorating is also part of the Easter preparations in Poland and many other countries.


The Catholic Church observes fasting and abstinence to commemorate their belief in Christ’s sacrifice.


New Zealand:

Good Friday is a public holiday in New Zealand. Restaurants and bars can serve alcohol only to people who are there to dine. One hour of drinking time is allowed on each side of the meal.

Clocks go forward tomorrow morning at 1am.

Some bars and restaurants can serve alcohol if they have been granted a special licence linked to a specific event.

In the Philippines, devotees in villages in the northern Philippines take part in bloody annual rituals to mark Good Friday, a celebration that mixes Roman Catholic devotion and Filipino folk beliefs and sees some reenact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Catholic church doesn't support the reenactment.


A reenactment the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

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