Good Friday and Holy Saturday

”Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23.46)

Good Friday ("Pitkäperjantai") commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Golgotha. It proclaims that Christ has died for us, and that his atoning work is accomplished.

Worship on Good Friday differs markedly from other days. Instead of the Eucharist, there is a Service of the Word. Lingering at its foot, we are called to "behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world".

The liturgical colour is black, and church bells and organs are traditionally silent. The altar is bare. Candles are not used, with the exception of the Christ candle, which symbolizes worship. We may spend time in prayer at three o'clock, the hour of Christ's death, and also at an evening service that commemorates his burial.

Holy Saturday is a day of silence, for Jesus is in the tomb. The liturgical colour remains black. In Western Finnish folklore, it was believed that evil spirits and Easter witches roamed freely on Holy Saturday, and Easter bonfires were lit to guard against them.