Good Friday is recognised each year by those in the Christian faith as the day of Jesus Christ’s death by crucifixion. Part of the Holy Week, it falls two days before Easter Sunday, when Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead. The date of Easter Sunday, and therefore also Good Friday, changes each year. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which can occur on or after 21st March. As such, Good Friday can fall as early as 20th March or as late as 23rd April.
Good Friday is a public holiday in most countries with a large Christian population, including Singapore. This means that all employees whose jobs are covered by the Employment Act are entitled to a day off work, regardless of their personal religious beliefs or heritage. School pupils also have the day off.
Christianity is one of the four main religions in Singapore, along with Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Most Christians in Singapore are of Chinese descent. 11.3% of Singaporeans are Protestant, while 7.1% are Catholic, and the overall number of Christians in the country has grown steadily over the past 25 years.
Traditions on Good Friday vary in different countries, from the hot cross buns eaten in the UK and Australia, to the street processions and dramatic performances in the Philippines. In Singapore, Easter is not one of the most prominent holidays, and therefore there is little fuss made over Good Friday in general. Christians will often attend a church service, with the bigger churches, such as the Church of St Mary of the Angels at Bukit Batok, holding several services in one day to accommodate more people. The service is more solemn than usual, as worshippers commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.
Regardless of their religion, people in Singapore appreciate the three day weekend that Good Friday brings about, and many take trips out of the city, or spend the day in one of Singapore’s beautiful parks. Fun family events are held across the weekend, such as Easter egg hunts. Also popular is the Easter lunch or brunch, traditionally featuring lamb. Many restaurants serve Easter desserts from around the world, such as Simnel cake, hot cross buns and chocolate Easter eggs.
In Singapore, although Good Friday is a public holiday, shops, restaurants and other amenities are open as normal, unlike in some other countries such as Australia. In fact, they tend to be busier than usual as people are not at work or school. Other places that become crowded are tourist attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa Harbour Front and Faber Peak.
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