Good Friday: Day of Worship or Time Spent Relaxing


Matteo Romano, Staff Writer

This Friday is Good Friday, and church-going Christians everywhere will go to mass in large numbers to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, this day marks the day that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus Christ.

This day is also one of the last days of the six-week long observance of Lent. Lent is a six-week process to prepare a Christian for Easter, and people do this in many ways, such as denying personal luxuries, or fasting at certain points.

My grandmother, a devout Catholic, goes to church nearly every day, goes to a Bible study group, and of course keeps many bits of religious memorabilia around the house. She has always taken religious holidays seriously.

“When I was a kid, I used to go to church between twelve and three o’clock to say prayers, say the rosary, and say the stations of the cross,” says my grandmother.

“Now, I go to a service at four o’clock, they venerate the cross and they have a communion service,” she continues.

In observation of the day, all ODA students will have this day off.

In the past, ODA has had Spring Break about a week earlier than it is now, and Good Friday would fall upon the last day of school before break. Therefore, many saw the day as just an extra day of break. Now, Spring Break is a week later, meaning that the school has made Good Friday a holiday in and of itself.

ODA students who don’t plan to observe the day religiously have other plans than a day of worship.

“I do something on days off. I play X-Box, and I’m planning to on Friday,” says sophomore Matt Jones.

When asked if he had any plans for Good Friday, sophomore Gus Mahler replied, “No.”

If there are students who will not be using the time for religious reasons, you might wonder why the school would decide to schedule a holiday. It comes down to attendance.

ODA is a secular school, meaning we have no religious affiliation, yet we get this day off. Good Friday is not a federal holiday, but it is a state holiday in Florida. Florida is one of twelve states, mostly in the South, that have declared the day a holiday. 

Also, if we get this religious holiday off from school, why do we not get other holidays off for other religions, that aren’t federal holidays, and how are these decisions made?

According to Headmaster David Mahler, there is a group of key people within the school who meet weekly to discuss how to design the calendar for the upcoming year.

“Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the high holy days for the Jewish religion. We’ve been tracking the number of absences from those days,” says the Headmaster.

Mr. Mahler went on to explain that the data showed that only a small percentage of the student body actually was absent from school on those days. Due to this, the school remains open on those days, but the schedulers attempt to be respectful of the needs of the greatest number of people. In reference to Good Friday specifically, Mr. Mahler took a practical view on how the scheduling decisions are made.

In terms of scheduling, “[Good Friday] is like ski-week. If we had school on Good Friday, so many people would be trying to get with family or trying to get to church that you wouldn’t have enough people left to run a viable school,” says Mr. Mahler.