Good Friday in New Zealand

When is Good Friday?

Good Friday is on April 2, 2021.
It falls on Friday.

How many days until Good Friday?

There are 28 Days left until Good Friday in New Zealand.

What is Good Friday?

For the Christians, the Friday before Easter Sunday is an important celebration called Good Friday. Good Friday is a holiday to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion on the cross. New Zealand, where Christianity is the most common religion, likewise observes this day. This day’s observance varies each year, but always occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Since Good Friday is a public holiday (also known as statutory holiday) in New Zealand, majority of the country’s business establishments close and most of the employees are given a day off. Shops are not allowed to open on this day. Government institutions, schools, and universities suspend operation as well.

Origin of Good Friday

Good Friday is a celebration well-recognized among Christian countries. The day is meant to commemorate the time when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. Jesus Christ is considered the central figure of Christianity. His death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday) marks two of the most important celebrations among all Christian holidays. The cross has currently become a principal symbol for Good Friday. It serves as a reminder of Jesus’ suffering and death. While many countries (including New Zealand) call this day Good Friday, other countries refer to it differently. Some named the day Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday, Friday of Mourning, Long Friday, etc.

How is the date for Good Friday determined?

Good Friday and Easter Sunday are movable celebrations usually held in between middle March and late April. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. Easter’s date is determined based on the ecclesiastical approximation of the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring equinox (Vernal equinox). Easter is the Sunday after the first full moon following the Northern Hemisphere Spring equinox. Since Easter Sunday is a movable celebration, that makes Good Friday adjustable as well.


Good Friday Traditions in New Zealand

Good Friday is a religious celebration held before Easter. The day is meant to mourn for Christ’s death and the kiwis (colloquial term for New Zealanders) do not take this day for granted. In fact, in New Zealand, Good Friday is one of the few days of the year where shops are not allowed to operate. Trading restrictions are observed on this day, though there are few other establishments which can operate under strict conditions (e.g. petrol stations, pharmacies, restaurants, cafés, and shops within an airport or train station). The country takes this day seriously and the selling of alcohol is even prohibited with the holiday’s observance.

Church Services

Attending special church services on Good Friday is one of the traditions observed by the Kiwis. Many churches from across the country hold special masses on this day. Other churches will hold longer than usual prayer vigils. Since the day is meant to mourn Jesus’ death, the services are also centered on his suffering and death at the cross. Most of the Christian churchgoers attend special church services held in the afternoon (between 12:00pm – 3:00pm) as it is believed to be near the hours when Jesus was crucified. Some churches in the country also arrange for Good Friday processions as well as events showing the stations of the cross. The stations of the cross portray Jesus’ final hours on Earth.

Fasting

Fasting is a common practice associated with Good Friday. In New Zealand, there are some people who fast to show repentance for their sins committed. People who follow the teachings of the Catholic church are typically those that participate in fasting and consume only a small amount of their regular food on this day. Fish is also a typical dish served on the table since most of the people refrain from eating meat on Good Friday.

Hot Cross Buns

Like other Christian countries (e.g. UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, etc.), hot cross buns are foods also eaten by the kiwis during Good Friday. Hot cross buns are spiced sweet buns typically made with fruit and each bun is marked with a cross on the top. Because of its religious connotations, this food has currently become a popular choice for the people. The tradition of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday continues in New Zealand to current day.

Common Activities

Good Friday starts the long Easter weekend for the New Zealanders. With the holiday beginning on Good Friday and continuing until Easter Monday, it gives the public a longer holiday break. This holiday break is oftentimes used by the kiwis to spend quality time with their loved ones. Traveling is typical on these days as well. Many people, especially the non-Christians, book getaway trips beginning on Good Friday and take advantage of the long Easter weekend. Resorts, parks, and the country’s various attractions are popular destinations.

Dates of Observance for Good Friday
Year Date Day Holiday
2021 April 02 Friday Good Friday
2022 April 15 Friday Good Friday
2023 April 07 Friday Good Friday
2024 March 29 Friday Good Friday
2025 April 18 Friday Good Friday
2026 April 03 Friday Good Friday
Upcoming New Zealand Holidays
Holiday Date
Good Friday April 02, 2021
Easter Sunday April 04, 2021
Easter Monday April 05, 2021