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Five Good Friday superstitions explained from hot cross buns to unlucky housework

The religious day marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Kate Ng
Friday 15 April 2022 14:02 BST

Good Friday is here, the day when Christians across the world mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

It comes after Maundy Thursday, which is the commemoration of the Last Supper, and ahead of Easter Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection.

Good Friday also comes after the period of Lent, when Catholics fast for 40 days. Those who participate in Lent are encouraged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during this period and throughout Easter – which is where the practice of eating fish on Good Friday originates from.

The medieval church decreed that the meat of warm-blooded animals shouldn’t be eaten on Fridays, while other types of Christians believe that eating fish on Good Friday symbolises the day in the bible that Jesus was killed by the Romans.

Aside from the tradition of eating fish, there are also a number of superstitions attached to Good Friday.

Here’s everything you need to know about the most common Good Friday superstitions:

No housework on Good Friday

According to Catholic tradition, doing any housework, such as washing your clothes, on Good Friday is considered unlucky.

Those who observe in the superstition believe that doing any housework on this day will bring bad luck to your family.

Gardening and farming tasks are off the table too on Good Friday, as an old belief decrees that no iron (such as a spade or a fork, for example) should enter the ground.

"Cucuruchos" carry a statue of Jesus Christ on a religious float during a Holy Thursday procession, in Antigua, Guatemala

Bread baked on Good Friday will never go mouldy

Bread has significant symbolism in Catholic tradition, often representing the body of Christ.

This is because of the Last Supper, during which Christ is said to have told his disciples as he broke the bread: “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

It is common superstition that breads or cakes baked on Good Friday will never go mouldy. In fact, it was claimed that such baked good even had healing properties.

According to Sunderland Magazine, goods baked on Good Friday were often hung from the ceiling and allowed to go stale.

They were taken down and grated into food or drink as a remedy when someone fell ill.

Eggs laid on Good Friday will never go bad

In the fifth to 12th centuries, fasting during Lent often meant giving up all meat and meat products, dairy and eggs.

Nowadays, eating eggs during Lent is acceptable and you can eat eggs on Good Friday, but eggs still hold a special symbolism.

It was believed that eggs laid on Good Friday would never go off. In the past, some people have claimed that they used Good Friday eggs in Christmas cakes and puddings, and they were as fresh as the day they were laid.

The Pope's Easter Sunday mass outside St Peter's basilica on St. Peter's square on April 21, 2019

Hot cross buns offer sailors and homes protection

Everyone knows and loves hot cross buns, which are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.

A 12th century monk was the first person to mark a bun with a cross, but it wasn’t until the 16th and 17th century when the first definitive record of the buns was made in text.

Legend has it that hot cross buns have magical properties, and hanging them in the kitchen will protect the home from evil spirits.

They are also said to prevent kitchen fires from breaking out, and will remain fresh and free from mould for the whole year.

Sailors would also take hot cross buns when they go on a voyage at sea to prevent shipwrecks.

Children born on Good Friday have “healing” abilities

Another Good Friday superstition involves children born on this day, who are believed to be very special indeed.

A child born on Good Friday and baptised on Easter Sunday is said to have the gift of healing.

It is thought that this superstition is related to Christ’s death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

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