Friday, April 14, 2006

Not-so-bad Friday

It struck me this morning, over my lovely neighbour's homemade hot cross buns (she'd even made a pagan version for the boy), that Good Friday seems to be a bit of a misnomer. If today marks the day that Hey-Zeuss (or Jay-zuzz, for non-Spanish speakers) died, then shouldn't we be thinking of it as Bad Friday, Black Friday, Unfortunate Friday or similar? If there's a day during Easter which is "Good", then shouldn't it be Monday, when the aforementioned Messiah was resurrected?

I put this question to the boy, thinking it would lead to an interesting discussion. However the boy, who is either a font of all knowledge or just very good at hiding ignorance, had a ready answer.

Apparently, in pre-Christian Western culture, today marks the day when all the Spring sowing has been completed and hard-working farming folk celebrate by chowing down on all the food stored from the previous harvest. So in a sense, their Good Friday was good for the same reason that every Friday is good if you are a 9-5 office worker.

It all makes so much sense...


onscreen said...

From a Christian point of view, Good Friday is good because Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was for the good of all mankind (and womankind). Of course from a non-Christian point of view, the boy is right as well, as most Christian Holidays that we celebrate today are held on the dates of old pagan festivals.

Hhhhhmmmmm homemade hotcross buns... wonder if it's too late at night to get the wife to make some ;o)

Nigel Patel said...

There's a lot about this that I don't understand. Like the anti-semitic crap about the Jews killing HeyZeus when the Romans clearly were the occupying power and as the State they should get the blame.
But Christianity was the first big religion to convert outsiders instead of having to be born into it and you just can't go around and keep reminding the Romans about 'Hey, like remember that time when you guys had our lord horribly killed?'.
I used to get all issue-y about the State and my employer sanctioning Christian holidays here in Jeezisland but now I figure that I'm getting paid my normal wages to wonder around in my PJs and that's a good Friday.

darth said...

i'm just happy traffic was lighter than usual.

flying kiwi said...

Were the pagan hot cross buns just hot buns then? Or did they have cool pagan fertility symbols on them (given that Easter is actually Ostara and all about fertility, although of course completely at the wrong time of the year in the Southern hemisphere and we should be celebrating Mabon...)?

Violet said...

onscreen: FYI, they were delicious.

nigel: but didn't Pilate give the Jews a choice, and they chose HeyZeuss to be killed? What freaks me out about the Christian Easter is when people re-enact the crucifixion, almost down to the last nail.

darth: those quiet holy days remind me of my childhood, before we had Saturday shopping and a trip to the library in town meant a truly peaceful afternoon.

flying kiwi: they had a single stripe. I was too busy imagining how they would taste, to listen to my neighbour explain what the single stripe meant. I saw on the telly that one woman has chosen to celebrate Halloween instead, and has saved her Easter eggs for October.

flying kiwi said...

Halloween is actually the opposite of Beltane (May Day), so not too far off.

In the Phillipines there's no almost, it actually is down to the last nail, apparently.

Juliabohemian said...

Actually the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus out of the way because they thought he was a disturbance to their power. They (obviously) didn't believe he was the Messiah and so felt he was breaking the law by claiming to be. The Jewish leaders basically took Jesus to the Romans (after Judas tipped them off as to where to find him). The Romans decided to kill him, not the Jews. But, I'm sure the Jewish Pharisees were happy to see him go.

This is not anti-semetic. It is just from the pov of the Christians. Judaism had reached a point where it had become very legalistic. The point the Jesus was making was that Jews were paying more attention to following their laws than they were to their fellow man.

But, if you were in charge, and your goal was to STAY in charge and keep order. You probably wouldn't like it if some guy came along and basically publicly claimed that you are doing it all wrong.

I don't think this is anti-semitic. If anything it is anti-Roman. But, just like the holocaust and slavery and the American Indians, we are not to blame for things done by our ancestors.

Violet said...

flying kiwi: I'm sure if Jesus was alive and kicking today, he wouldn't approve of people maiming themselves as a way of remembering his death.

juliabohemian: Just as I don't hold today's generation of Japanese responsible for what happened in Nanking...