Prayers and fasting as Christians observe Good Friday

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) With fasts and daylong prayer services in churches, Christians in the national capital and elsewhere in India observed Good Friday, which marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Many people fasted and prayed silently to mark the day.

“The prayer services generally go on from noon till 3 p.m. because it is believed that Christ died on the cross at three in the afternoon. Hence, for three hours, many meditate, pray and read the gospel to commemorate the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross at that time,” Priya Paul, a software executive, told IANS.

Many recall the words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” – words that Christ is believed to have uttered before he was crucified.

In the prayer service, the priest reads the gospel and chapters on the ‘Passion of Christ’ at length.

The period of mourning ends Sunday when Christians celebrate Easter, marking the resurrection of Christ. Some members of the community start fasting around 40 days before Good Friday, in keeping with tradition.

The 40-day period of Lent sees devout Christians abstaining from all meats and alcohol.

Lent refers to the period of 40 days of fasting that Christ observed in the desert before returning to Jerusalem where he was welcomed as the king of the Jews. Fearing his popularity, the rulers of the kingdom plotted his death with the help of his disciple Judas.

For Delhiite Mariyam D’Souza, Good Friday signifies the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. On this day, every year, her friends and relatives get together and distribute books, clothes and food packets to the poor.

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