Orthodox Good Friday in Jordan
Orthodox Good Friday, also known as Great Friday or Holy Friday, is a significant religious event in Jordan, observed by the Eastern Orthodox Christian community. In Arabic, it is called "الجمعة العظيمة" (Al-Jum'ah Al-'Azīmah). Orthodox Good Friday is not on the same date as the Western Christian Good Friday and usually falls on a different day, as the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, while the Western Church follows the Gregorian calendar.
In 2023, Orthodox Good Friday will be celebrated on April 14th. The date varies each year, as it is calculated based on the first full moon following the vernal equinox and the Sunday following the first full moon after the Passover.
Orthodox Good Friday has been observed in Jordan since the early years of Christianity, as the region was part of the Byzantine Empire, which embraced Christianity in the 4th century. Christianity has deep roots in Jordan, with historical sites such as the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ and the early Christian churches in Madaba and Um er-Rasas. The Eastern Orthodox Church has continued to celebrate Orthodox Good Friday in Jordan throughout the centuries, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
National customs for Orthodox Good Friday in Jordan
On Orthodox Good Friday, Jordanian Orthodox Christians attend special church services, which usually include the reading of the twelve gospel passages related to Christ's passion and crucifixion. Many believers also fast on this day, abstaining from meat, dairy products, and sometimes even oil and wine.
A notable tradition in Jordan is the procession of the burial shroud (Epitaphios) in the evening. The shroud, an embroidered cloth depicting the dead body of Christ, is carried by priests and worshippers in a solemn procession around the church or through the streets of the community. This procession symbolizes Christ's funeral and is accompanied by hymns, prayers, and the ringing of church bells.
Local customs for Orthodox Good Friday in Jordan
In addition to the national customs, some local customs are unique to specific regions or communities in Jordan. For example, in the town of Fuheis, a predominantly Christian town near Amman, the local Greek Orthodox community has a unique way of celebrating Orthodox Good Friday. They light large bonfires in the streets, which symbolize the light of Christ shining through the darkness of his crucifixion. This tradition brings the community together in a festive atmosphere, as people gather around the fires to pray, sing hymns, and celebrate their faith.
Orthodox Good Friday is an important day for the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in Jordan, as it commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The observance of this day is marked by solemn church services, fasting, and unique processions and traditions that reflect the deep-rooted history and faith of the community. The customs and traditions surrounding Orthodox Good Friday in Jordan highlight the rich cultural and religious diversity of the country.